Black Friday, 2013

Black Friday is so-named because it’s the day when retailers stop using the red ink to record their debt and start using black ink to record profits.

Black Friday is also a good day for customers who are in the red, or otherwise financially compromised (those who are unemployed or retired) can buy something they need, or maybe especially want but couldn’t afford ordinarily.

For the last three years, my artificial Christmas tree has been losing needles.  It’s lost so many that it’s beginning to look like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.  However, with my resources dwindling, I wondered if this was a good year to be investing a new tree.

I also needed white sweaters.  Being an amateur community band musician, black and white are a wardrobe necessity.  Through the years, my stock of white sweaters has succumbed to stains and wear and tear.  With the Christmas concert season upon us, I knew I’d need sweaters and the only time I’d be able to afford them was on Black Friday.

After I finished at Kohl’s, I suddenly remembered the Christmas tree.  I figured K-Mart would have the cheapest artificial trees, and I was right.  They only offer one unlit tree; one was all I needed.  The tree sells at retail for $49.99; K-Mart was selling it for half-price at 24.99 for ordinary shoppers and half that price again for K-Mart card shoppers.  Thus I got my tree for $17.

The trick to surviving Black Friday is to go during the lull, which occurs around 3 p.m.  The morning shoppers have worn themselves out, the kids are screaming, and they go home just after lunch.  The evening shoppers are waiting to go after dinner.  There was a line at Kohl’s but it moved quickly, which was fortunate since I had to prepare for Second Thanksgiving, the night when I have my brothers over (again) to polish off the bird.  My brothers are always very obliging.  My older brother is on his way now.

Santa Claus must have been listening.  I don’t believe in abandoning the Thanksgiving Day table to worship the gods of merchandise.  But I am thankful for Black Friday!

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Published in: on November 30, 2013 at 5:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thanksgiving Day, 2013

On this Thanksgiving Day, I first give thanks to God for all that He has provided.  Man, or rather the Government, has taken much away, namely my job.  But with God’s guidance, I should be employed again soon.

We live in a time of great evil, yet if we keep faith in the true Master of the Universe, we have nothing to fear.  These trials will pass and we will pass them, with his Help, Guidance, and Love.

Many people forget that the Pilgrims’ thanksgiving, their harvest festival was first, and foremost, a thanksgiving to God that they’d survived the Atlantic crossing in that small ship, the Mayflower, and that at least some of them had survived to Spring.  They lost many loved ones in the harsh ordeal.

Because of their peaceful Christian faith, they were able to achieve peace with the Indians.  They hadn’t come to rob or enslave them.  The Indians recognized this and lived in harmony with them, teaching the newcomers how to fish and farm in the rocky New England soil.

They thanked God for teaching them that every man must till his own soil first.  What is left over, every man can choose to trade or donate to charity, but survival must come first.  Communal restrictions to do not make for productivity and prosperity.  What Man plants with his own two hands for himself and his family will yield the greatest fruit.

 Thank God for showing us the way to the Internet in order to spread the message of freedom and liberty.  Help us be strong and resist those who would rob us of our most basic freedoms – the rights to free speech, religious worship, prosperity and happiness.  Our Constitution doesn’t guarantee the last two things, but without freedom, they will not happen.

 Let us pray for those who will rush from the table of Thanksgiving into the dark night to seek out bargains in the marketplace.  Tomorrow wasn’t enough for these people or the merchants; materialism is eating away at the very foundation of Thanksgiving, the day (and night) when we should be worshipping God, not money (or what our money can purchase).  Forgive them, God, for they know what they buy.

 I’m thankful for my family, who have patiently helped me during my long period of unemployment.  Although the future is uncertain, I trust in God to lead me to better prospects where I will not need to lean on other human beings for assistance.  Have mercy on us and lead us all through the cold Winter to a brighter Spring.

 

 

 

 

Published in: on November 28, 2013 at 3:31 pm  Comments (2)  

Obamacare: Nearly 80 Million Newly Uninsured

The fortunate Americans who are employed will have a lot to be thankful for tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day.  However, they might want to go easy on the extra helpings of stuffing, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie.

According to Fox News Channel’s Chief National Correspondent Jim Angle, “Almost 80 million people with employer health plans could find their coverage canceled in 2014 because they are not compliant with ObamaCare, several experts predicted.”

“Their losses would be in addition to the millions who found their individual coverage cancelled for the same reason.

“Stan Veuger of the American Enterprise Institute said that in addition to the individual cancellations, ‘at least half the people on employer plans would by 2014 start losing plans as well.’ There are approximately 157 million employer health care policy holders.

“Avik Roy, of the Manhattan Institute, added, ‘the administration estimated that approximately 78 million Americans with employer sponsored insurance would lose their existing coverage due to the Affordable Care Act.’

“Last week, an analysis by the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, showed the administration anticipates half to two-thirds of small businesses would have policies canceled or be compelled to send workers onto the ObamaCare exchanges. They predicted up to 100 million small and large business policies could be canceled next year.”

“According to projections the administration itself issued back in July 2010, it was clear officials knew the impact of ObamaCare three years ago.

“In fact, according to the Federal Register, its mid-range estimate was that by the end of 2014, 76 percent of small group plans would be cancelled, along with 55 percent of large employer plans.

“The reason behind the losses is that current plans don’t meet the requirements of ObamaCare, which dictate that each plan must cover a list of essential benefits, whether people want them or not.

“’Things like maternity care or acupuncture or extensive drug coverage,’ said Veuger. ‘And so now the law is going to force them to buy policies that they could have gotten in the past if they wanted to but they chose not to.’

“Some plans already have been canceled and employers are getting sticker shock at the new, higher prices under ObamaCare.

“A new wave of cancellations and sticker shock will emerge just before next year’s elections.

“’They’re going to start doing that in the summer or early fall but certainly before the midterm elections,’ said Veuger.”

Americans were warned, thanks to the benighted Tea Parties.  We tried to warn you, America, but you wouldn’t listen.  You thought we were crazy.  You accused us of being tinfoil conspiracy theorists who thought Obama was going to overthrow the government and the Constitution, and that the sky was going to fall, the economy would collapse, and an asteroid would strike the Earth (or the Moon).

The sky did fall, figuratively speaking, on New Jersey, last year with Hurricane Sandy.  The economy is pretty shaky, and while an asteroid hasn’t struck the Earth, we have had some close calls and according to astronomers, the Moon is backing his bags and moving away, at a rate of about four inches a year.  The farther away the Moon moves, the greater our risk of being hit by an asteroid.  Guess the Moon has had it with taking the hits for a planet that doesn’t appreciate it.

We were doing pretty well with insurance the way it was.  Employers and employees benefitted from the employer paying for most of the health insurance.  The poor had Medicaid, the elderly, Medicare.  There were problems, particularly the pre-existing condition clause.  By age 55, you’ve probably started to develop some condition or other.  Something needed to be done to protect these policyholders without canceling their coverage.

The real problem was hospital costs.  Obamacare does nothing to address this issue.  Thanks to Obamacare’s onerous regulations and fines, particularly the mandate that every single health insurance policy cover absolutely everything, the price has absolutely, beyond a doubt, made health insurance unaffordable.

Workers still clinging with relief to their employers and their employer’s health care insurance boat, they’re going to find that the lifeboat is leaking badly.  Companies are about to jettison those lifeboats.  Eventually, there will be no choice but the single-payer option – the U.S. government.

The American Enterprise Institute says the Administration knew three years ago that this would happen.  The Tea Parties warned this would happen.  Conservatives broadcasters (i.e., Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Mark Levine) predicted this would happen.  Mark Levine was beside himself at this unconstitutional capture of the health care market, one-sixth of the American economy.

Which is worse, at this point:  John Kerry’s betrayal of America by appeasing Iran and giving that nation the nuclear option, or Obamacare, which will ruin our economy, bankrupt companies and American workers, and endanger the elderly?

 

 

Published in: on November 27, 2013 at 8:32 am  Leave a Comment  

Iran: The Nuclear Option

Reuters reported that “Iran and six world powers clinched a deal on Sunday to curb the Iranian nuclear programme in exchange for initial sanctions relief, signalling the start of a game-changing rapprochement that would reduce the risk of a wider Middle East war.

““Aimed at easing a long festering standoff, the interim pact between Iran and the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China, and Russia won the critical endorsement of Iranian clerical Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

However, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the agreement as an “historic mistake.”  Critics in Congress also quickly voiced concern.   Some raised the specter of failure, Reuters reported, to rein in North Korea on its nuclear programs.  But they signaled that Congress would likely give the deal a chance to work.

“The agreement was announced in the middle of the night in Geneva after long and tortuous negotiations.”  Obama, seeking to improve ties with Iran even before winning his first election in 2008, said it cut off Tehran’s possible routes to a nuclear bomb.

USA Today reports that in the six-month interim deal, Iran agreed to limit nuclear activities in return for relief of up to $7 billion in sanctions that have hurt its economy.  Obama called the agreement “an important first step” but said sanctions can be reapplied if the Iranians violate it.

Obama opined that the agreement opens “a new path to a world that is more secure” in a speech at the White House, adding “Iran cannot use negotiations as cover to advance its (nuclear) program.”

“Israel has been briefed on the interim agreement, according to a senior White House official. Administration officials said the deal addresses several of Israel’s most serious concerns about Iran’s nuclear program — including Iran growing its supply of 20% uranium and the Arak reactor coming online.

“But on Sunday,” USA Today writes, “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the deal,” stating that the agreement leaves Iran with its nuclear capabilities mostly intact. He said Israel will not be bound by the deal and that ‘Israel has the right and the duty to defend itself by itself.’”

The agreement entails the following five details:

1. Uranium enrichment: Iran agrees to stop producing medium enriched uranium, which represents 90% of the effort to produce weapons grade material, and stop developing new fuel production machines, called centrifuges, which can produce fuel for a nuclear weapon.

2. Heavy water reactor in Arak: Iran agrees not to install critical components or fuel at its heavy water reactor in Arak, which could produce enough plutonium for two nuclear weapons a year.

3. Stockpiles: Iran agrees to neutralize its medium enriched nuclear fuel. Iran cannot expand its stockpile of low enriched uranium, which is now enough to produce at least four nuclear weapons.

4. Safeguards: The deal provides for daily visits by international inspectors to Iran’s uranium enrichment sites in Natanz and Fordow.

5. Sanctions: In return, Western powers have agreed not to impose new nuclear-related sanctions for six months, if Iran abides by its commitments, and to give Iran about $7 billion in relief on oil, gold, auto exports and educational cash reserves.

Smartest-Man-in-the-Room Charles Krauthammer, speaking on Fox News’ Special Report on Monday, says he believes Obama’s deal with Iran is “the worst deal since Munich.”

“This is a sham from beginning to end. It’s the worst deal since Munich. It’s really hard to watch the President and the Secretary of State and not think how they cannot be embarrassed by this deal.”

The Munich Agreement of 1938 between Hitler and major European powers expanded Germany’s borders. Today, the failed negotiation is widely considered an act of appeasement.

Politico.com noted that Krauthammer expressed deep skepticism that Iran would act in good faith and said that the country would retain its capacity to enrich uranium. He also added that the decreased sanctions outlined by the administration would provide an influx of cash to alleviate shortages in the country and reduce inflation, reducing incentives for the Iranian regime to comply with international nonproliferation efforts.

“’[I]t undermines the entire idea of nonproliferation, and it grants Iran a right it’s been lusting for for a decade. That’s why there was so much jubilation in Tehran over this,’” Krauthammer said.

He also noted that Iranian scientists could easily reverse the physical process.

In another post on Fox News.com, physicist David Albright, founder of the Institute for Science and International Security, quotes Charles D. Ferguson, president of the Federation of American Scientists, who writes, “The weekend deal reached by the U.S. and five other world leaders to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting some sanctions requires Iran to take uranium that had been enriched to 20 percent — most of the way to weapons-grade — and convert it into uranium dioxide (UO2). But that process is readily undone,”

“This is a meaningful barrier right now, but it’s not a permanent barrier,” Ferguson told FoxNews.com. “They might have the ability to make a facility to reconvert it … close to a dozen countries have that process.  ‘There are several chemical steps, but Iran knows how to do them.’

“Ferguson,” the column goes on to note, “who has consulted with the National Nuclear Security Administration and served in the Office of the Senior Coordinator for Nuclear Safety at the U.S. Department of State, said the chemistry process is well understood. But the weekend agreement does buy some time for diplomacy.

“I don’t think this deal is perfect but each side has a compromise — and at least this buys some time for about six months,” he said.

“Iran has already converted some of its 440 pounds of 20-percent uranium into uranium dioxide at facilities within the country, but those plants can’t convert the oxide back into nuclear fuel, explained Albright.  ‘It’s reversible, but not that quickly.  There are several chemical steps, but Iran knows how to do them.’

“To get weapons-grade fuel, uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas is pumped through a centrifuge to remove fluorine atoms — essentially a giant salad spinner that concentrates the fissile isotope U235 in the gas. After multiple passes through the spinning centrifuge, the concentration of that isotope increases, Ferguson explained.

“Centrifuges can refine UF6 to three different stages: At 3.5 percent, the output is good enough for reactor fuel. Enriched to 20 percent, it can be used in scientific and medical research. But it’s also just a step away from the 90-percent level, where it can be used as weaponized uranium.

“’It may seem at first that 20 to 90 is a big gap. But b enriching up to that 20-percent level, you’re actually doing the work you need to get up to weapons-grade levels … it’s relatively quick to [convert it] to 90 percent,’ Ferguson told FoxNews.com.

“Converting 20-percent uranium into oxide would take it a step away from weapons-caliber.  For Iran to then reconvert it, the country would need to construct a sizable building for the multi-stage process.

“’They would have to create a facility where the chemical forms can be changed,” Albright explained.

“There are several intermediate steps behind between uranium oxide and UF6. Oxygen must be stripped out and fluorine added back in, a substance that is extremely toxic and corrosive and therefore requires special facilities.

“’Iran can do it, but it’s not something they can set up in a day,’ he told FoxNews.com.”

So, the West, China and Russia are willing to part with $7 billion for at most six months’ security.  Meanwhile, Iran may do just what Germany did in violating the Versailles Treaty while we take the word of the United Nations, a dubious international body, that they’re honoring the agreement.

The hub-bub results in drawing the attention of Attention Deficit Disordered Americans away from Obamacare, which may be postponed until after next year’s elections, at which time most American businesses will have been forced to drop their company health care plans because they don’t meet the new laws regulations and Iran will have had the time to convert their uranium oxide back into weapons-grade nuclear weapons.

Curiously, Kerry headed the Senate investigation into the Iran-Contra deal, which traded drugs for arms for Iran in its war against Iraq.  It was deal that never happened; the whole thing was made up of whole cloth and cheese, but Kerry was able to score some major Media damage against the Reagan administration.  Reagan weathered the storm unscathed; the public on the other hand, to this day, believes the story.

But that’s a tale for another day.  Perhaps when we’re huddled by a makeshift fire burning low inside our blasted out furnaces in the basements of our flattened homes in the hills of New Jersey, in the aftermath of a nuclear explosion, we’ll tell our children the tale of a traitorous president and his sinister foreign minister (Secretary of State) Hari Kerry.

Published in: on November 26, 2013 at 8:39 am  Leave a Comment  

Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims – A Book Review

If there had been children’s literature like Rush Limbaugh’s Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims:  Time Travel Adventure with Exceptional Americans published sooner, reading scores as well as interest in American history would have improved.

Limbaugh’s exceptional children’s book is in response to the historical revisionism of the last 40 years.  For his first adventure, he has chosen the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims in 1621.

Rush Revere is a substitute history teacher with a smart-aleck talking horse named Liberty.  The first words out of the horse’s mouth to Revere’s class of middle-school students is the preamble to the Constitution.

 “Show-off!” Revere says.

Revere, of course, is Limbaugh.  The horse is a time-traveling horse that carries Revere through a time portal to any point in history he chooses.  Limbaugh uses the same image used in his Two if By Tea iced tea line, a Colonial costume.  Limbaugh definitely goes all tea party – for a class of middle-schoolers.  The Brave Revere.

He wisely takes two of his students, a boy and a girl who’s of Native American ancestry with him, to keep in touch with modern times.  There are plenty of references to modern culture like The Incredible Hulk, Chuck Norris, a little scatological humor, which Revere, uses to teach a little nautical history, and the occasional references to future events that leave the Pilgrims bewildered.

Limbaugh gives the full history of the Pilgrim’s (Puritan’s) voyage.  He doesn’t go too heavy on the reasons that they left England.  We refer to them as Pilgrim’s but they were also known as Separatists who didn’t believe in the Anglican Church’s practices (particularly having the monarch of England as the head of the church) and wanted to separate from the Church of England.

Liberty the Horse accuses Revere of sounding like King James, the English monarch who gave the Pilgrims the ‘choice of either following their faith or following the law.  He explains that some of the Separatists were imprisoned.  So, the Puritans, with their spiritual leader, William Brewster, left England to live in Leyden, Holland.  But even there, they were uncomfortable living among strangers.  The Puritan’s children were beginning to leave the faith.  When Rush Revere and Liberty jump through the portal, the Pilgrims have just engaged the Speedwell to carry them to the New World.

With his Smartphone app, teacher Revere transmits his adventures back to the classroom.  Going back and forth between episodes, Revere and Liberty recount how there were originally two ships.  In the introductory lesson, Revere explains that the Speedwell was to be the passenger ship and the Mayflower, the cargo ship, which some of the leaders had gone back to England to purchase.

However, by the time they reach Southampton, England, the Pilgrims discovered the Speedwell to be incredibly unseaworthy.  Returning to land, some of the passengers bail out of the voyage, thankful to be on dry land.  The Mayflower is engaged to carry the passengers as well as the cargo, some of which must be jettisoned in order to make the voyage with the additional 102 passengers.

There are two groups of passengers, Revere teaches:  the Saints, as the Mayflower’s sailors call them, and the Strangers, sailing for the New World as part of a business enterprise to build plantations, or farms, to grow food for hungry Europe.  When the “Strangers” discover they’re headed for Cape Cod, instead of the Hudson River in New York, they nearly stage a mutiny.

Limbaugh deviates from history somewhat in the description of the Hudson River.  The river was not named for Henry Hudson until the early 20th Century.  The river went by a number of names in early American history.  The Iroquois called the river Muh-he-kun-ne-tuk or the Great Mohegan.  The Lenape Indians, who inhabited both banks of the lower portion of the river – all of present day New Jersey and the island of Manhattan – knew it as Muhheakantuck (“river that flows two ways). An early name for the Hudson used by the Dutch was “Rio de Montaigne.” Later, they generally termed it the “North River”, the Delaware River being known as the “South River.”  The name “North River” was used in the New York City area up until the early 1900s, with limited use continuing until modern times.  The term persists in radio communication among commercial shipping traffic, especially below the Tappan Zee Bridge.

The river was included on the 1529 map of Estevao Gomes and Diego Gutierrez. On their map it was named Río de San Antonio (St Anthony River), in the context of the Spanish Ajacan Mission of the 16th century.

All that is a little too confusing and a little too much history for young, 21st Century readers, so Limbaugh sticks with the Hudson River.

Meanwhile, Jones, Captain of the Mayflower, told the Strangers that they were landing at Provincetown Harbor and that was all there was to it.  The ship was running out of food, the passengers were sick, and winter was coming.  If they didn’t make landfall, he’d throw them all of the ship and leave them there to their own fate.

Myles Standish and William Bradford, the colony governor, urged the two groups into a peace accord.  The ship would anchor at Cape Cod where they would forge a compromise, binding the two groups to work together for their mutual support.  The Strangers weren’t happy; they wanted freedom, not the communal bonds of the spiritual group whose tenets held that there would be no private property or free enterprise.

By common consent of the Mayflower Compact, the majority would rule.  As Rush Revere whispers to his student, Tommy, “This is a key moment of American history; the agreement that William Bradford just proposed is the Mayflower Compact.  It is said to be just as important to American history as the Declaration of Independence.”

For reasons of mutual support, the Strangers and Saints agree.  But as Rush Revere and his students discover, the first winter is harsh and many of the Pilgrims die that winter.  In the Spring, they are visited by the Indian Somoset of the Pokanoket tribe, ruled by the sachem Massasoit.  The Indian tells the Pilgrims that he learned English from fishermen.

Somoset leaves and returns with another Indian, Squanto, and Massasoit.  Squanto speaks perfect English.  He had been kidnapped from Patuxet Harbor (where the Mayflower is anchored) and eventually went to England, before returning to North America.  He teaches the Pilgrims how to hunt, fish, and plant corn.

Meanwhile, Bradford and Brewster have found their plans to live communally have not lived up to their expectations.  Having no motivation to work, not all the Plymouth Plantation residents work as hard as others.  Bradford finally relaxes the rules, allowing each landowner to keep his own produce to consume or sell at will.  The colony begins to prosper and Rush has the opportunity make the case for the freedom, free enterprise, and free will that 155 years later will lead to the Declaration of Independence and eventually, the formation of the republic of the United States of America.

Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims is ideal for the ten and up crowd to read on their own.  They’ll especially enjoy the wise-guy antics of Liberty the Talking (and sometimes Invisible) Horse.  Rush’s book is full of excitement and suspense that will entertain the young set, while instilling in them a full sense of the importance of American history.

This is even a great book for Grandmas and Grandpas, or Mom-Moms and Pop-Pops to read to their grandchildren.  The entire book is a little long for a full-length reading to squirmy pre-schoolers.  Some knowledge of American history is required, which is why it’s better suited for older school-age children.                                              

Undoubtedly, the book will go into a second printing (at which time they can put Rush’s invitation to the first Thanksgiving in its proper place:  it was a little disconcerting to find nothing after the colon mark).  Limbaugh, it turns out, is a great storyteller.  His book is a page-turner for the young and long-looked for blessing for the young-at-heart who’ve been longing for someone to write a proper, optimistic, and patriotic account of American history.

Thanksgiving was the excellent point in time to begin the saga of Rush Revere.

 

                                                                                                     

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on November 25, 2013 at 5:40 pm  Comments (8)  

JFK’s Legacy

During a diplomatic reception at the Kremlin, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev told Western diplomats:

“About the capitalist states, it doesn’t depend on you whether we (Soviet Union) exist. If you don’t like us, don’t accept our invitations, and don’t invite us to come to see you. Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you.”

In 1959, while attending the American National Exhibition in Moscow, Vice-President Nixon, recalling Khrushchev’s prediction that our grandchildren will live under communism, stated:

“Let me say that we don’t object to his saying this will happen. We only object if he tries to bring it about… We prefer our system. But the very essence of our belief is that we do not and will not try to impose our system on anybody else. We believe that you and all other peoples on this earth should have the right to choose the kind of economic or political system which best fits your particular problems without any foreign intervention.”

Both Khrushchev’s and Nixon’s statements fueled the anti-Communist sentiment prevalent in the United States.

Here it cites Nikita S. Khrushchev as saying: “I once said, “We will bury you,” and I got into trouble with it.

Of course we will not bury you with a shovel. Your own working class will bury you.”

It does not state when Khrushchev commented on his earlier comment.

But at least it confirms that he made it.

Excerpts from a speech by Secretary of Agriculture under the Eisenhower Administration, Ezra Taft Benson:

“Your children will live under communism.” Khrushchev said.

“On the contrary,” Secretary Benson replied, “My grandchildren will live in freedom as I hope that all people will.”

Khrushchev then retorted: “You Americans are so gullible. No, you won’t accept Communism outright; but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of Socialism until you will finally wake up and find that you already have Communism. We won’t have to fight you; we’ll so weaken your economy, until you fall like overripe fruit into our hands.”

David Emery of the blog “Urban Legends” claims Khrushchev never said it.  He says that the only source who was present can’t remember when the Big K made his prediction.  Actually, the Russian premier said it once.  Emery also claims that the shoe-banging incident never happened.  Actually, it did but apparently the video footage was live and at the time, around 1956, not recordable.  But my parents remember seeing it live on television.

In this day and age of digital photos and videos, and programs to accompany them, any photo or video can be manipulated.  Yesterday, looking through the Youtube versions of the Zapruder film, I was dismayed to find how many different versions of it there now are.  The same with the autopsy photos.  There are photos online that were never in the original autopsy report and other pictures that have been left out.

Eyewitness accounts from that day in 1963 have been left out of newspaper reprints, photos of witnesses pointing to the grassy knoll in Dealey Plaza have vanished, to be replaced by new alleged eyewitness accounts that they only heard three shots and that those shots came from the Texas School Book depository.

I was dismayed when I learned my brother had sold our cousin (once removed) B’s report.  If the wrong person got hold of them, they could easily be manipulated to tell the story the manipulator wanted to tell. Sure enough, there are pictures out there on the Internet that aren’t what we saw.

The Kennedy family understandably did not want the photos to be released and the Warren Commission obliged them.  However, with the death of the only known suspect, the body was the only evidence left.  Habeas corpus – produce the body.  That’s why Mom’s cousin sent the report to Grandpa.   I looked up the list of the people in attendance at JFK’s autopsy at Bethesda.  The FBI was busy taking names.  That’s what Mom said her cousin told her.  By 1968, he was getting nervous that someone whose name the FBI did get would sell him out.

The room was crowded, but because the doctors and technicians were wearing masks, it was hard for them to tell who was who and because there was so much activity, the FBI noted that it couldn’t sure it go everyone.  They didn’t.  Glad to know my great-uncle didn’t raise any stupid children.  Not so sure about my brother.  He meant well but it was foolish.

We’re left now with only an endless mystery that will probably never be solved, photos or no photos.  All the major players are long gone.  Unless you’re in your mid-50s or over, you weren’t even alive at the time.  The 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination has to seem to today’s average 15 year old the way someone who was 15 at the time of his assassination would have thought of observing the death of some famous figure in 1910 – ancient history.  A story only their grandparents would have known as adults.  Mark Twain.  King Edward VII.  O. Henry (O who? I can hear younger people asking; he was a poet).  Julia Ward Howe (composer of the Battle Hymn of the Republic).  Leo Tolstoy.  Florence Nightingale.

These were all natural deaths, however.  They were not assassinated in broad daylight in a motorcade in an open car.  Kennedy’s death was (forgive the word) sensational.  Eventually, every American would be able to witness on television via the Zapruder film.  You would have to go nine years to 1901 to have a comparable assassination of another president, William McKinley, the 25th President of the United States.  He actually died from gangrene caused by the bullet wound. 

It was after McKinley’s death that the Secret Service was charged with protecting the President of the United States.  McKinley, like Kennedy, did not like having his security detail come between him and the people.  An assassin’s bullet did the job, instead.

Leon Czolgosz was an unemployed anarchist; Lee Harvey Oswald claimed to be a Marxist, something he said was different from being a Communist.  There were two presidential assassinations in the 19th Century (Lincoln’s and Garfield’s) and two in the 20th Century (McKinley’s and Kennedy’s).  So far, in the 21st Century we’ve been lucky.

Numerous conspiracy theories exist about who killed Kennedy, beyond the official Lone Gunman theory.  The public has become suspicious and wary of “conspiracy theorists” since 9/11.  It’s a testament to public patriotism that they don’t want to question the American government.  Considering all the lies we’ve been told by the current administration, it’s hard to understand this sudden acceptance of government accounts of events.  The public doesn’t accept the account of Benghazi, but they also rejected (rightly) conspiracy theories about 9/11.

The differences between the JFK assassination and 9/11 are numerous.  But here are a few.

People saw on live television the airplane plow into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.  Abraham Zapruder filmed the assassination of Kennedy with the latest in motion picture cameras for consumers.  Even so, the pictures had to be worked on to get a clearer image.  What people saw back in the Sixties was a gory spectacle of the President being hit once, pitching forward, then rocking back again.  Then, his hand falling away as he leaned towards his wife, Jackie, and she leaned towards him.  Then some frames later, the American public saw an orange explosion, originally to the side and not in front as current versions of the video show.  We saw Jackie scream, witnesses mouths fall open, and people looking not to the building but slightly behind the limousine (which was still moving) across the street.

Pictures in the paper of the day showed witnesses pointing to the grassy knoll.  Those photos are now gone.  Unless you’d seen them or were smart enough to save a copy of the paper, you’ll never see them; they don’t fit in with the official version.  In the 1980s, 80 percent of Americans thought there was a conspiracy; today, only 61 percent of Americans think so.   They don’t know anything about the First Lady’s insistence that she remain in her blood-stained pink suit so “they” could see what they had done.  If anyone knew from which direction the bullet had come, it would have been Jackie, who was only inches from Kennedy’s face.  She was lucky she wasn’t killed, too.

But she’s gone now and her family doesn’t want to be reminded of this horrific incident.  No blame to them.  They would prefer Americans remember Kennedy for the good that he did, even if he was President for only about two years.  Well, for what it’s worth, here it is:

As I’ve written before, my parents were Republicans and didn’t vote for him.  They didn’t like him much, knew his father’s sordid history, and didn’t romanticize him.  They thought he was soft on Communism and doubted his motives in the Cuban Missile Crisis stand-off.  The Soviet navy turned back, but they believed that it was because Kennedy made a deal with the Soviets over removing our military bases in Turkey and other countries that bordered the Soviet Union.

Maybe he did.  However, living only about 20 miles outside of one of the Soviet Union’s main targets – New York City, the most populated city in the United States, not including its suburbs – gives you a different perspective about those 13 days in October 1962.

Mom and Dad were the parents of a young family – 1, 3 and 4, at the time.  They sat with us in my brothers’ bedroom, wondering whether we would live to see the future.  They held us in their arms, their eyes sad.  Whether Kennedy got the Soviet Navy, carrying nuclear weapons, to turn back through bravado or through a deal, the world did not come to an end in October 1962.  We lived to tell the tale.  Thank you, JFK:  It feels good not to be nuclear toast.

As Khrushchev promised (and I believe the tale is true), the Communists did not need missiles to bring down our country, although the missiles were on their way to Cuba all the same, probably in order to provoke that very crisis that would allow them to negotiate with the U.S. into removing our missiles from their borders.

They’ve managed to bring us down through the very progressive program Khrushchev detailed.  They reprogrammed the young children, drugged the older, imprisoned the elderly in a socialist health care and retirement system, opened our borders to non-Americans with no interest in America or freedom in order to destroy our country, bribed voters into voting for “Progressives” and the social welfare system, bribed the wealthy, and destroyed the middle-class, “nuclear” family through antagonism, divorce, birth control, abortion, secularism, and even our own commercialism.

 Through focusing on a youth culture, we’ve become self-involved and self-absorbed.  We’re more susceptible to social pressure and much less likely to question authority or become involved in politics.  The “You-Can’t-Fight-City-Hall” mentality, which we inherited from our grandparents (my grandfather frequently fought city hall), is alive and well.  Even our more dependable, Conservative voices urge us not to question the official results of the Kennedy assassination.  Just let the poor guy rest in peace.

Well, I’m all for that.  But what would Kennedy think of a nation that didn’t question its officials or official versions of national catastrophes?  In the Sixties, that’s exactly what the Hippies claimed to be doing, questioning authority.  Now that they’re the authorities, they’re not so keen on being questioned.

We know who was responsible for 9/11.  The murderers themselves died in the attacks and of their leaders, one is presumably dead and the other is sitting in jail, making a mockery of our judicial system.  But they readily admitted to carrying out 9/11.  Lee Harvey Oswald was killed before he could be put on trial.  Without trial or jury, the Warren Commission, within a year, concluded that Oswald was the one and only killer.  The public accepted this verdict, even though hundreds of researchers have produced evidence of silenced witnesses.  The owner of the funeral home told one of the researchers that he watched two FBI agents enter the funeral home and take Oswald’s dead hand and plant a fingerprint on the rifle.  Is this radio account I heard this morning true or not?  Has any credentialed media reporter bothered to go and talk to this funeral home owner and verify the account?  Was he paid off to tell this story or would his financial records show that he’s telling the truth?

The Oliver Stone movie charged that witnesses’ affidavits were falsified.  Has anyone in the Media bothered to speak to these people and verify their accounts?  Or are the Media – and the witnesses – too afraid to speak out?  If so, that doesn’t speak well for our government.

We have a president who is taking over, by fiat, the U.S. Census Bureau, the keeper of facts and statistics about the United States.  Finding out the local voting records for the last presidential election is practically impossible.

This is American, fifty years after JFK’s death.  Even though he was a Democrat, it seems reasonable to speculate that he was at least a fiscal Conservative and a political Moderate, even if he was socially Liberal.  His speeches were dynamic and patriotically inspiring.  He spoke of hope for the future and freedom.  But what has happened to that freedom Kennedy championed (in his speeches, at least)?

The Senate has just revoked the tool of filibustering presidential nominations for the lower courts and, I believe, for the president’s cabinet?  Right on the anniversary of JFK’s murder.  Is this the legacy he would have wanted to leave?

The 50th anniversary brought back to mind how long and depressing those three days in November 1963 were, even for a four year-old.  Thank goodness we don’t relive those days in quite this detail every year.  It feels good to get back to good old 2013.  Kennedy is dead and buried, and we should let him rest in peace.

But we shouldn’t bury the truth with him just because it’s depressing, annoying or inconvenient.  He deserved better than that, even if Conservatives who remembered his presidency didn’t exactly think of him as the ruler of Camelot or Conservatives who want to remember his Conservative side want to give him a break and let the conclusion of his murder rest at the feet of the Lone Gunman.

Even more important than solving JFK’s murder, we need to restore the country back to its love of freedom, circa 1963.

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on November 23, 2013 at 11:06 am  Comments (1)  

JFK’s Assassination – Fifty Years Later

November 22, 1963 – After a typical, unmemorable toddler’s lunch (I was 4), my mother put me and my two-year old brother down for our afternoon naps.  I wasn’t tired, though, and hid myself between the bed and my bedroom windows to play with my Little Kiddles dolls (or whatever they were called).

Coming upstairs to check on us, my mother found that I was not in bed.  Asking why I wasn’t napping, I said I tried but I just wasn’t sleepy.  Mom thought this over for a moment.

“Well, all right,” she said.  “But just play quietly.  Don’t wake up your brother.”  She left and went back down to the kitchen.  The radio was tuned into WOR; Mom never watched television in the afternoons; she detested the soap operas.  Presently, the phone rang.

“I know, Mom,” she said.  “I just heard it on the radio.  I’m turning on the TV to see if they have any news.”

At that moment, there was a wailing sound outside in the middle of our street.  I pulled myself up to the windowsill.  Hanging on, I peered out in the pale afternoon.  There, three or four of the housewives had gathered in the middle of the street, crying and hugging one another.  I can still remember their fall jumpers and the black-framed eyeglasses of a younger girl, one of our teenaged neighbors.  The older women comforted her.

“But he was so young!” she cried.

At that moment, I heard my mother say to my grandmother, “Hang on, Mom; something’s going on out in the street.”  She opened the front door and looked out.  Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted me looking out my bedroom window.  I sank back down to the floor.

She got back on the phone.  I could hear a man’s voice on the television confirming President Kennedy’s death.

 “That’s it,” Mom said.  “He’s really dead.  I can’t believe it.”

 They spoke some more and Mom said, “This means they’ll probably be closing the schools.  Billy will be coming home soon.”

There was a cheerful thought.  Billy was coming home; I’d have someone to play with.  I looked across the hall at my younger brother who was awake, and evidently listening also.

I knew who and what President Kennedy was.  My parents had taught me about America, how there were 50 states and how we lived in freedom.  Other countries weren’t so free they said; travelers had to show papers just to go from one place to another.  The President wasn’t a king; adult people went to places called polls and cast ballots to choose the person they thought should lead the country.

My parents were not fans of Kennedy.  They were straight-line Republicans.  They were certainly not enchanted by the Kenney mystique (the myth of Camelot only came after Kennedy’s murder).  They thought the whole thing was over-romanticized, that he wasn’t that great a president, and that he stole the 1960 election through his father’s influence.  They were about the same ages as Jack and Jackie; Dad was two years older than JFK and Mom was five years older than Jackie.  My mother particularly hated Jackie.  She thought the First Lady was a snob and didn’t like the way she exploited her children.

“Every day,” Mom complained (before the assassination) to my father, “we have to see pictures of these kids.  Well we have kids, too.  What kind of mother is this woman, always putting her children in front of the cameras?”  Actually, later biographies revealed that the photo ops were Jack Kennedy’s idea, not Jackie’s.  In fact, she frequently argued with her husband and his staff about it.  Mom realized later that Jackie was very protective of her children, keeping them in isolation after Camelot was over.  Jackie’s motherhood was redeemed in my mother’s eyes and in fact, she admired Jackie and pitied her for having had to witness her husband’s murder.  Many women who didn’t like Jackie sneered that she was a coward trying to escape the limousine, leaving her mortally wounded husband to save herself and that the Secret Service agent had to push her back into the car.  Jackie Kennedy said she was trying to help him in.

I championed Jackie to my mother much later on.  “Mom, what would you do if your husband’s head was blown off as you were sitting next to him?  I don’t know about you, but I’d sure want to get out of there.  If she really was trying to escape, can you blame her?  But she says she was just trying to help the agent into the car.  She must have spent years in therapy after that day.”

Mom agreed and relented in her criticism of Jackie.

My parents often complained about JFK, particularly his foreign policies.  They had to admit the economy was going well, but they thought he was soft on Communism.  During the Cuban Missile Crisis, they suspected that he’d made a deal with Khrushchev to remove our missiles in someplace called Turkey.

“Well,” my father said, “now the Russian tanks will be able to roll right over the border and take over Europe the way Hitler did.”

I asked them if they were glad Kennedy had been shot.

“No!” they answered, quite seriously.  “Of course not!  This is a very serious matter.  It’s true we didn’t vote for him.  But he was still the President of the United States and it’s a very bad thing that he was shot.  We can’t just have people going around shooting our presidents.  That happens in other countries, but that’s not what we do here in America.  If the country doesn’t like a president, they elect someone else.  We don’t shoot them.”

“Was it somebody from another country?” I asked.  “Are we going to go to war?”

“Nobody knows yet,” my mother replied.  Suddenly, she looked worried.  “They’ve arrested someone but he’s an American, although he lived in Russia for awhile, they’re saying.”

Three days of mournful music, pall bearers carrying coffins, crying mourners and more mourners and more dirges, and funeral processions filled our days.  Having a black and white television only added to the solemnity.  We understood that people were sad but the proceedings were awfully dull for children aged 2, 4, and 8.

“Mommy, why can’t we watch some cartoons?” I whined.

 “I’m sorry,” she said, “but this is all that’s on.”  She showed us all the other channels.  Funeral, funeral, funeral.

“It’s just one dirge after another,” my older brother added, scowling at the television.

“It really isn’t fair to the children,” my mother said in aside to herself.  “They don’t understand what’s going on or why it has to go for so long.”

But there was some excitement in the offing.  We all sat down together, I guess it was on Saturday morning, to watch as they transferred the suspect to another jail.  But as he was being led out in handcuffs a man jumped out from the crowd.  Bang, bang, bang!  The sheriff handcuffed to Oswald eyes popped open wide and he drew back with a look of horror and disbelief.  Meanwhile, my usually silent, taciturn father jumped out from the living room couch, pointing at the TV set.

“Did you see that?  Did you see that?  They shot him!  They shot him!!” he exclaimed.

We children tittered.  Of course, we saw it.  What we’d never seen is our father get so excited about anything.

 “So much for a trial,” he said, composing himself after his extraordinary performance.  “Now we’ll never know who really shot Kennedy or why.”

“Well, they might be able to save him,” Mom said.

 “No,” Dad replied.  “I’ve seen that kind of gunshot wound [during World War II].  He’s done for.”

The days passed.  Life resumed its normal course.  We got our cartoons back.  Dad pronounced the new president the worst scoundrel ever to hold the high office of president (until today).  My parents said he was a ruthless politician and that Kennedy only selected him in order to win votes in the state of Texas.  Theories abounded about who shot Kennedy.  According to the New York Daily News, which we saved for posterity and which I later learned to read, witnesses in the Texas School Book Depository had Lee Harvey Oswald in the company lunchroom at the time of the shooting.  The Daily News reprinted their Nov. 23, 1963 issue today; all mention of those witnesses is missing.

As the months passed, Mom said that her cousin on her father’s side was an attending physician at JFK’s autopsy.  “He was there,” she said, with a grim look as she washed dishes at the kitchen sink.  “Bethesda Naval Hospital.”  He had hinted that something was very wrong about the way the assassination was handled.  He said that the room was very crowded and hard to work in and that government officials were telling the doctors what to do.  One of them supposedly turned to the agent and asked him if he’d like to perform the autopsy himself.

The years passed.  My parents grew angrier and angrier at the socialist turn the country was taking.  They especially disliked Robert F. Kennedy.  When RFK was assassinated in June of 1968, the news came in the early morning, while they were still in bed.  Five years older, five years of increasing socialism, taxes, chain immigration, rising crime, riots in the cities, hippies, drugs, and the anti-war protests had made them callous indeed.  When they heard the news, they cheered, “Hooray!  They’ve shot another Kennedy!”

That summer, my grandparents’ cat Molly was due to have kittens.  It was also the year of the great flood earlier that Spring.  The kittens hadn’t arrived yet.  But something had arrived in the mail for my grandfather from his nephew, the Bethesda Naval Hospital physician, shortly after RFK’s assassination:  Cousin B’s copy of the autopsy report for JFK, with his own notes in the margins.  Grandpa was annoyed.

“Why did he send you this, Dad?” Mom asked.  “Why didn’t he send it to Uncle B. [his own father, who was also a physician, trained by the Navy during World War I, but ultimately in private practice on Park Avenue in New York].

“Oh, he thinks there’s some kind of conspiracy going on, just like all these other nuts.  He thinks I can do something about it because I have connections to the Navy,” he replied.  “But I don’t want this thing in my house.  I’m going to mail it back to him.  If the government wants people to believe a single gunman shot Kennedy, let them.”

“But, Pops,” my mother persisted, “why would B send you the photos if the Warren Commission Report is right?  B was right there at the autopsy.”

“Aw!  The conspiracy theory nuts are all crazy!  There was no conspiracy!   They’re all crazy!  This Oswald kid,” he said, waving his arm at the television set in front of him, “did it.  He acted alone.  He’s the one who shot the president.   Comes back from Russia his head filled with all this Communist crap and he goes and shoots Kennedy!”

My mother’s cousin wrote my grandfather that the autopsy room was so packed with FBI agents, Secret Service agents, and admirals, that they could barely work.  He was scared that someone would try to destroy the notes and photos, especially after the second killing of a Kennedy.  He felt somebody needed to get the truth out.  Grandpa had some pull through his Merchant Marine/Navy ties.  But he thought it was nonsense. 

I sat on the living room floor, my younger brother next to me playing with his cars.  The pictures were gruesome and gory.  The starkest photo was of Kennedy laying bare on the cold, steel table, his eyes staring up vacantly, his mouth slightly open.  This was a photo before the tracheotomy was performed (there was another after the procedure).  There was one bullet hole in his throat and another right between his eyes. 

 I looked up at my grandfather, whose eyebrows had climbed up his forehead.  My mother ushered me into the kitchen.  She said I could go on looking at the report, but I had to do it out of sight of my grandfather.

Cousin B died of a heart attack just a few years later.  As Mom noted, he was a heavy smoker, just like his father. Grandpa never did send the autopsy report back to his nephew.  Instead, he hid the report in a nook in his basement machine shop.   My brothers knew the secret location; I did not.  Reviewing the report became an annual tradition for me and my brothers.  Occasionally, Mom and Dad would join the conversation.  The stark photos of the dead president, his eyes staring openly up at us, were morbidly fascinating.  We knew from the publication of the Warren Commission Reports that one set of photos or the other had been “doctored.”  My father said that when you have a room full of admirals, you follow orders.

Why would someone have doctored the photos, we wondered.  Who ordered it and why?  Why did the original newspaper accounts cite witnesses who said they heard shots from the grassy knoll?  How could anyone have shot him directly between the eyes from either side of the road?  Wouldn’t a shot like that have had to come from straight ahead?  And why did today’s edition of the New York Daily News’ reprint of the 1963 paper leave out all the testimony of the witnesses?

In those days, the Media was very careful not to give too much of a view of that overpass, which you must have noticed in your visit to Dealey Plaza wasn’t too far away from where the motorcade had stopped, probably to allow the Secret Service agent time to get into the car.  Also, it seems never to have occurred to anyone that a sniper could have fired off a shot from a sewer on the side of the road.

After my grandfather died in 1985, the autopsy report disappeared.  We weren’t sure who took it – our uncle (my mother’s brother), his daughter, the next-door-neighbor.  Finally, my younger brother admitted that he had sold them to a JFK collector.  “Not for the money,” he said, “but so that someday people will know the truth.”  He said the dealer told him the report would have to be resold numerous times to cover its tracks so that the trail wouldn’t lead back to our family or my mother’s cousin’s family.  Or to him.  To paraphrase the woman in the Oliver Stone movie, these are serious people.  If they’d shoot a president, average people wouldn’t stand a chance.

Fifty years after JFK’s assassination, and 12 years after 911, the conspiracy theories are being knocked down again.  For awhile, people began to believe in a government cover-up, that there was more than one shooter.  The Oliver Stone film, JFK, helped to lend credence to other theories, especially based on examination of the Zapruder film.  I have no doubt Oswald was there, but so were other shooters.  The government would have had the case sign, sealed and delivered if hadn’t been for the Zapruder film.

But since the 9/11 Truthers came out of the woodwork, blaming GW Bush, the CIA, Mossad, and who knows who else for the September 11th attacks, people have become wary again of conspiracy theorists.  The Media is playing the government tune.  Even now, they’re trying to persuade people that the Lone Gunman theory was the correct one.  They’ve even tried to discredit the doctors at Bethesda as not being as well trained in forensics as law enforcement. 

They still insist Kennedy was hit in the right, back side of his head, even though the autopsy photos – to say nothing of the Zapruder film – show that it’s the left back side of his shirt that’s soaked in blood.  Even though the film shows the spray of blood going off towards Jackie.  Even though Gov. Connolly’s wife was even more soaked in blood than Jackie.  Even though pictures at the time showed that Jackie’s skirt and stockings were soaked in blood.  In the Zapruder film, you can see her face is spattered with blood.

The so-called experts have now come up with new, crazy zig-zag theories to explain how the shot could have gone through his back, through his throat, and then through Connolly (sic), and come out relatively undamaged.  A new documentary now says that the bullet was flattened somewhat, but still pretty much intact.  Witnesses accounts are still being dispelled, that what they head were echoes.  Echoes bouncing from where?  There were no buildings on the driver’s side of the limo.  Yet the Media are accepting this nonsense and not even questioning it, not even you.

Someone put a video on Youtube, exploring all the possible sniper nests on Dealey Square.  As he walked back up the motorcade route, he turned the camera back on the overpass for a moment, then forward again to the motorcade route.  Then he turned the camera back to the overpass again, as if doing a sudden double-take.  I haven’t seen the distance between where the limo stopped and the overpass, but you have, and it’s my belief that the distance between the last location of the limo and the overpass isn’t as great as we were led to believe.  Someone familiar with guns and shootings needs to rethink that trajectory.

Someone is very, very scared of the truth about an assassination that occurred 50 years, whose key players are practically all dead or in dotage.  What are they afraid of, all these years later?  How people can see the evidence right in front of them (the Zapruder film) and yet still succumb to pressure to accept what is obvious falsehood, not believe their own eyes, is unfathomable.  It’s the old doctors in white coats syndrome.  We’re not experts.  The witnesses heard echoes, not more shots.  The blood was on the right side of the car, not the left.  The right side of Kennedy’s head was blown off, not the left.  What about the motorcycle cop who said he was nicked by a bullet?  Why, there’s no evidence anyone said any such thing.  That’s not in the Daily News’ reprint.  Neither are witness testimonies placing him in a lunch room at the time of the shooting.  So what if no one actually saw him shooting at the moment?  His fingerprints are still on the gun.  Anyone who believes there was a conspiracy is crazy.  Anyone who doesn’t believe the government’s Warren Commission Report is just a nut.

Someone has the real, undoctored photos.  I don’t know who it is.  I don’t want to know.  I don’t know whether he’s discovered that it’s too dangerous for him and his family to expose the truth about Kennedy’s assassination.  But my brothers and I are here to tell you (Mom’s too old and nervous to do so):  don’t believe Lone Gunman or crazy bullet trajectory theories for a moment.  I’ve never heard of a wildcat bullet that can exit cleanly right between a man’s eyes.

If you’d seen the autopsy photos as we did, you’d know the truth.  You’d know the Warren Commission Report was a cover-up, with a compliant, modern-day Media helping resell it, for some reason.  Even reliable broadcasters like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are reselling the Commission’s report.  Keep asking questions, as Glenn Beck is always exhorting us to do, and hope whoever has the real autopsy report (if they haven’t destroyed it) comes forward with the evidence someday.

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on November 22, 2013 at 12:20 pm  Comments (1)  

Farewell, Marcus Welby, M.D.

Once upon a time, doctors made house calls.  If the patient was immobile or too sick to travel, or a hospital was too far away, the doctor would pay a visit to the patient’s house.  That was in the very old days.  Today, we have ambulances, well-equipped hospitals and doctor’s offices, and 911.  Today’s doctors can’t make money traveling to visit their patients, thus the once-quoted saying “I don’t make house calls.”

Those were the days of the soap opera doctors.  Doctor Kildare.  Marcus Welby, M.D.  Handsome surgeons, grandfatherly-wise general practitioners who had the time and patients to listen to their patients, sometime today’s doctors are simply busy to do.

Monday’s Wall Street Journal story, “In Search of More Primary-Care Doctors”, examines the growing shortage of medical school students willing to go in general practice; pediatrics, family medicine, internal medicine.  These fields simply don’t pay.

The average starting salary for a pediatrician is $179,000.  One third-year Harvard Medical student interviewed for the article is a rare doc-to-be who shows interested in the field of primary care.

The article says, “She is convinced that the U.S. is moving toward a health-care system that will put a much higher priority on keeping people healthy and out of the hospital, and that the primary-care doctor will play a leading role in this transformation.”

The problem for medical schools is finding more students like here to train over the next decade.

The Wall Street Journal article states, “The Association of American Medical Colleges, or AAMC, predicts that by 2020, the U.S. will be short more than 45,000 primary-care doctors – those who practice internal medicine, family medicine and pediatrics.  With millions more patients expected to be seeking a doctor because of the Affordable Care Act and 10,000 Americans turning 65 every d ay for the next two decades, demand for these physicians is outstripping the supply.  Yet only about 20 percent of medical residents go into primary care, according to the AAMC.”

Medical schools are trying the community organizing approach, channeling students away from specialized medicine and into community-based primary-care training programs, particularly for underserved communities.  The poor, having no doctor, turn to emergency rooms for simple procedures and treatments a primary care physician or general practitioner could perform.  The hospitals must accept these patients and the taxpayers foot the bill under Medicaid.

Some schools, through Federal grants, pay back student loans to young doctors who agree to practice in rural or underserved urban areas.  A recent study by John Hopkins University shows that with each 1 percent increase in primary-care physicians, an average city will have 503 fewer hospital admissions, 3,000 fewer emergency room visits, and 512 fewer surgeries annually, according to the WSJ.

“Many medical educators and innovators agree that efforts to entice more students into primary care will be fruitless unless there is an increase in the number of federally-supported medical residencies – the three to seven years of on-the-job training that medical school graduates must complete before they can practice independently [and competently].”

However, the bottom line is that the average orthopedic surgeon’s salary (orthopedic) is almost four times that of the pediatrician – $483,000.  No medical student is going to go through 8 additional years of study to bring home the same salary as a mid-level corporate manager.  If the only way to entice them is through taxpayer dollars, not only will we have a problem finding a doctor, we’ll have a problem paying them or finding insurance to cover the cost.

People are having fewer children and so there’s less need for pediatricians.  Unless they’re paid more, they’re not going to enter the profession at all.  Parents, especially poor parents will have no recourse but to turn to the conglomerated hospital systems.

In another article, this on in an article in the Aug. 5th issue of National Review (“An Arm and a Leg:  Hospitals are to blame for obscene health-care costs), columnist Avik S.A. Roy blames the merger of hospitals for the rising cost of health care. 

“In debates about health care,” Roy writes, “we spend a lot of time arguing over how we buy it:  whether through government payers, private insurers, or health savings accounts.  But there’s an equally important story, one that nearly everyone in the political class has neglected:  how we sell health care.  Hospitals are at the center of this story.  And they are using their economic and political power to drive up the price of their product.

“If the Congressional Budget Office’s projections are right, health care will account for almost all increases in government spending for the foreseeable future, excluding interest on the debt.  And increasing spending on hospital care is the biggest driver of rising health-insurance premiums, which are in turn the main cause of wage stagnation for middle-income Americans.  Put simply, we cannot confront the growth of government, nor of middle-class economic insecurity, without first confronting the central role that hospital play in causing both.”

Happily, for the hospitals, they’ve been able to dodge the blame because Democrats, with their anti-Capitalist agenda, blame the evil health insurance companies for the costs.  They’re also the devils who use their prongs to “deny” a hospital’s procedures because they’re too expensive.  Hospitals know people sick enough to need hospital care, especially in emergency, don’t have the time to “shop around”.  Hospitals pretty much charge what they want.

Roy points out that prices for the same procedure can vary widely.  “Private insurers don’t have the same leverage as the government.  If a private insurer refuses to play ball with the major hospital in town, the insurer will lose customers to a competitor who is willing to pay the hospital more…Politicians demonize insurers and lionize hospitals, so insurers will look like the bad guys if they deny their customers access to famous, but costly, local hospitals.”

Roy uses an example of an uninsured lymphoma patient who went to a world-renowned cancer facility.  “The hospital charged him $283 for a chest x0ray for which it would have charged Medicare $20.  It charged him more than $15,000 for blood tests that normally cost a few hundred dollars.  It charged him $13,702 for a…lymphoma drug for which the average U.S. hospital price is around $4,000.  All told, [the patient’s] course of treatment cost $83,900.  Whatever he couldn’t pay was called ‘uncompensated care.’

Roy notes that the hospital “is not struggling under the weight of bills unpaid by the uninsured.  In 2010, it recorded revenue of $2.05 billion and operating profits of $531 million.”

“In May,” he continues, “for the first time, the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services released data on the prices that hospitals charge for common medical procedures.  They found wide discrepancies.  Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, for example, listed an average price of $66,030 for implanting a pacemaker.  The University of Miami Hospital across the street listed an average price of $127,038.  In some cases, the costliest hospital charged five or six times what the cheapest hospital did.  Hospital prices are usually set arbitrarily.  They have no relationship to what the services cost to provide, or to what insurance companies and the uninsured actually pay, let alone to any sort of classical notion of supply and demand.”

Because most Americans depend on their employer’s health insurer to deal with the bills, they have no idea what prices should be paid for treatments and hospital stays.  “…consumers of private insurance don’t buy it directly, but instead receive it through their employers, making them less sensitive to its price.  Workers want access to the top hospitals and get upset when their plan denies that access, because they don’t directly see” the cost-savings of a cheaper hospital.

“Most hospitals are ‘nonprofit’ entities for tax purposes, which gives the public the impression that hospitals focus on healing the sick instead of making.  But that’s not true.  ‘Nonprofit’ status simply prevents hospitals from distributing earnings to owners or shareholders; it does not prevent them from paying large salaries to their executives and piling up cash for their project,” Roy says.

The tactic hospitals have used to gain leverage over private insurers is consolidation. 

 “In most sectors of the economy,” Roy notes, “the government uses antitrust laws to prevent the formation of monopolies.  But federal agencies and courts have been uniquely passive in the face of hospital monopolies.”

Referring to a market concentration measuring tool called the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI), Roy says, “The HHI is calculated by taking all the players in a given market, calculating their market shares, squaring each market-share percentage, and adding up the total.”

By this statistical math, which we won’t even attempt to decipher here, a perfect monopoly would have an HHI of 10,000. 

“According to guidelines published by the U.S. Department of Justice [why are they involved in this?] and the Federal Trade Commission, a market with an HHI between 1,500 and 2,500 is considered moderately concentrated; one with an HHI above 2,500 is considered ‘highly concentrated’ and subject to regulatory scrutiny.”

In 1992, hospital markets in the U.S. had an average HHI of 2,400.  Nearly half of all localities in America already had a highly-concentrated hospital market.  Based on antitrust guidelines for the rest of the economy, the U.S. ought to have blocked the vast majority of hospital mergers that took place thereafter.

“Instead, however, the DOJ and the FTC challenged only a handful of deals.  The agencies determined that they would bother to address hospital mergers only if those mergers drove to HHI to near 5,000.  Hospitals, defending theirs against the government’s opposition, played up their traditional image to sympathetic judges:  as instruments of charity, as nonprofit ‘pillars of their communities.’

“The tactic worked.  From 1993 to 2008, the DOJ and the FTC failed to block a single hospital merger in the United States,” Roy tells us.  “By 2006, the average hospital market HHI increased from 2,440 to 3261.  Hospital monopolies and oligopolies use their market power just as other monopolies do:  to raise prices.  James Robinson of the University of California found that hospitals in markets with above-average HHI scores – the highly-consolidated ones – charged 44 percent more than [hospitals] in markets with below-average HHI scores.  And nearly all of that extra revenue from higher prices went straight to hospitals’ bottom lines, where it could be used to pay higher salaries, build new wings, and swallow up smaller competitors.”

Roy goes on to explain:  “Hospitals aren’t just buying up rival hospitals.  They’re also acquiring physicians in private practice.  According to an analysis by Aetna in 2002, two-thirds of medical practices were owned by physicians, compared with one-quarter by hospitals.  By 2011, these numbers had reversed.

“Hospitals acquire private practices because it lets them control the patients whom private physicians see.  Independent physicians can refer their patients to any hospital that accepts their insurance;  hospital-affiliated doctors are required to refer patients to the hospitals they work for.

“Hospital-affiliated physicians, in turn, can take advantage of hospitals’ market leverage to charge higher prices to patients with private insurance, an important counterbalance (for them) to the increasing number of people on government-sponsored health insurance, which pays much less.

“Rather than address this problem, Obamacare, at the hospital lobby’s behest, actively suppresses the ability of physicians to compete with hospitals.  Section 6001 of the Affordable Care Act bars the construction of new physician-owned hospitals if those hospitals will accept Medicare patients.  Physicians are trying to persuade Congress to reverse the ban.  But that effort ‘faces an uphill battle with Democrats, [according to WSJ’s Alicia Mundy] because the ban was a crucial tool they used to gain the hospital industry’s support [for Obamacare] in the first place.”

“It [should not] surprise you that the American Hospital Association eagerly supported Obamacare; hospitals will be the single biggest beneficiary of trillions in new spending that the law will authorize.  Currently, approximately one-third of government health spending ends up in the pockets of hospitals.  This year, before the implementation of Obamacare, U.S.-government entities will send $500 billion to American hospitals, a figure that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services expects to grow to $800 billion a year by 2021.  And the more money hospitals get, the more powerful they become, giving politicians even greater incentive to cater to their interests.”

Giving a history of socialized medicine, Roy explains that it all began with Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, turning “American hospitals into a political and economic juggernaut.  Before the establishment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, progressive efforts to pass single-payer health care had been stymied by two powerful forces:  conservative Southern Democrats (who resisted centralization in general and feared integration mandates) and the American Medical Association [which represented physicians, not hospitals].”

However, thanks to the re-election of Johnson in 1964, along with a boatload of Congressional Democrats, his social engineering agenda was destined to pass with or without the aid of the Dixiecrats.  A number of congressional conservatives threw up their hands and hopped on board the socialized medicine gravy train.  Sound familiar?

“Johnson,” says Roy, “recognizing the AMA’s pull, softened doctors’ resistance by assuring them that Medicare would contain no cost controls.  The Medicare bill promised to pay doctors and hospitals according to ‘usual, customer, and reasonable’ rates.  The result was that doctors and hospitals could charge whatever they wanted to.

“And they did, in the first year of Medicare’s existence, hospital spending increased by 22 percent.  For the next five years, hospital spending grew by an average of 14 percent a year.  In the decades since, growth in hospital spending has continued to exceed that of the rest of the economy.  In 1965, Congress projected that by 1990, accounting for inflation, the government would spend $12 billion on Medicare.  In actuality, the government spent $110 billion on Medicare that year, and another $74 billion on Medicaid.  Eight years from now, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services projects U.S. public spending on health care will approach $2.4 trillion.  One-third of that, as noted above, will flow to hospitals.”

Presidents since Nixon have made attempts to rein in government health spending.  President Reagan introduced price controls in 1983 into Medicare.

“But,” Roy notes, “price controls only incentivized doctors to provide more kinds of services at a higher volume, to make up for lower prices.  And hospitals have responded to Medicare’s price controls by ‘cost-shifting’ – charging higher prices to people with private insurance, and astronomical prices to the uninsured.”

These two articles, with all-due apologies to the Wall Street Journal and the National Review (I’ll be mailing out the check for my subscription renewal today!), paint a grim but accurate picture for the average citizen of just what the heck is going on.  I share them because I had my own OMG!! reaction to the information in them. 

I always regarded myself as an average employee and used to apologize to my editor, JD.  But because I was “only” average, he found I was a most useful employee.  He would hand me an insurance article, and ask me to read it while I sat with him.  He would watch my face for any signs of confusion.  “Is there anything you don’t understand in that article?” he would ask.  If there was, I would tell him, and the article would undergo a revision until I could understand it.  If I could understand, that meant that the average company employee could understand it.

Obamacare is a deliberately complex, confusing, and complicated piece of bureaucracy, written precisely so the average American would not understand it.  What they don’t understand, they can’t oppose.  This is information they really, really need to know and so I’m sharing it with them, since the average American can’t afford the Wall Street Journal and hardly knows that a magazine called The National Review exists, much less reads it.

It’s time to pull back the privacy curtain surrounding hospitals.

 

 

Published in: on November 21, 2013 at 10:07 am  Comments (4)  

The Long and Winding Road to Obamacare

The year was 1961.  We had driven from our apartment in Lodi, N.J. to check on the progress of our new house, being built on a hill in Bloomingdale.  The roads hadn’t been paved yet.  The grade up Jeffrey Drive (spelled “Jeffrey” at the bottom and “Jeffery” at the top) was so steep that the pavers had to build a hairpin turn for cars to scale it.  Still a dirt road, our station wagon struggled through the mud to gain the summit, getting stuck several times in the process.

One at the top, the road wound around a cliff edge.  As we progressed along Knolls Road, the houses were in progressively early stages of building.  I can still recall their wooden frames.  Our house was not yet in the construction phase.  A mammoth boulder that the builder was unable to blast away was at issue.  My mother, well-versed in the construction trade, came to discuss the matter, examine the blueprints for the house, and decided whether she would settle for a half-cellar or insist on destroying the boulder.

The problem was, the frame of the house next door was already up.  Blasting would destroy it.  Mom decided to settle for a half-cellar.  Obama has no qualms at all about blowing up other people’s houses.

In some ways, constructing a house is easier than constructing a website.  Some yards of lumber, some nails, screws, saws, ladders and other tools, and you’re set.  Constructing a house takes knowledge and care.  The biggest mistakes are usually made in the foundation and when they are, they’re usually found too late, resulting in disastrous delays.

Obamacare was three years in planning and construction (not to mention selling to the public).  Bureaucrats, not legislators, designed it, with little consideration for the logistics of the website that would gather information from every American.  They were the big-thinkers, the social engineers.  They left the details to the computer programmers.  Like the autocrats they are, they never bothered to listen to the programmers who were trying to describe what an impossibly massive project this was, how long it would take to complete (if ever), and all the problems it entailed.

The road to Obamacare has turned out to be a steep, slippery, muddy road.  Obama is stuck on the lower portion of Jeffrey Drive.  The public has learned that the name changes up at the top of the hill, and they have to try to navigate a hairpin turn worthy of Pikes Peak before they can reach it.  When they get to the Obamacare House, after winding around an unpaved fiscal cliffside road, with a steep drop on the passenger side, they’ll find that the frame of the house isn’t even up yet and that a massive boulder (Medicaid) is obstructing the construction of the foundation.

Obama, ever the indefatigable social engineer, has been happily blasting away at the rock of the U.S. Constitution.  He coolly issues detrimental, unconstitutional Executive Orders the way experienced blasters plant fuses into rocks.  He’s vowed that nothing is going to get in the way of the execution of Obamacare.  Only, someone has seen or guessed his plans.  Someone has taken the drive up the Jeffrey Drive of the Affordable Care Act and found it really is renamed Obamacare at the top.  The sign is changed and it’s a different health care system than the plan Americans were frog-marched into, one dominated by a single payer – the U.S. Government.  The buyers are having second thoughts and Obama has had to double-down on his salesmanship because his numbers have plummeted – a 37 percent approval rating.

The news, according to Glenn Beck’s The Blaze is that a large portion of the error-riddled, multimillion dollar federal health insurance exchange system has not even been built yet, according to a senior official involved in the construction of the website.

“The revelation came Tuesday during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the possible security risks surrounding healthcare.gov.

“The committee’s been reviewing materials that indicate that some parts of healthcare.gov were not completed before the launch, as we’ve discussed here,” Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) said. “What portion of the website remained to be created when you launched on October 1st?”

“’I don’t have an exact percentage,’” said Henry Chao, deputy chief information officer of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “’I look at it in terms of overall marketplace systems.  I think it was a set of priority functions that needed to be in place.

“’Well, how much do we have to build today?’ Gardner pressed.

“’Just an approximation, we’re probably sitting somewhere between 60 and 70 percent,’ Chao said.

“’Sixty to 70 percent that needs to be built still?’ Gardner said.

“’We still have to build the payment systems to make payments to issuers in January,’ the Obamacare official said before adding, ‘the online application, verification, determination, plan compare, getting enrolled, generating enrollment transaction – that’s 100 percent there.’

“’But the entire system is 60 to 70 percent away from being complete?” Gardner asked.

“’There’s the back office systems, the accounting systems, the payment systems … they still need to be done,’ Chao said.

“Chao, not disputing the figure, said the 60 to 70 percent that has yet to be built would be tested ‘in the exact same manner we tested everything else.’

“’But here’s something:  Later in the hearing, Chao referred to the remaining 30 to 40 percent of the system that has yet to be built.

“Perhaps he flipped the percentages in his head? This would seem strange considering Gardner repeatedly pressed him on the 70 percent figure.”

The massive boulder that is obstructing Obamacare, figuratively speaking, is our country’s foundation, the U.S. Constitution.  What he is trying to build is so massive, so complicated, and so all-encompassing that the programmers have yet – after three years – to find a way to make it work.

Even if they do finally get the system to work, it won’t be what we were told it would be, a limited free-market insurance exchange.  That’s what the sign says at the bottom of the hill.  Up at the top, the name of the road is Single-Payer Lane.  Eventually, they’ll get the road paved.

But Jeffrey/Jeffery Drive is no easier to climb in the winter months, when the ice and snow comes.  For the young and healthy, the transition from free market insurance to a government-run health insurance program will be relatively easy, if also incredibly expensive.  For those in the winter of life, it will be a long, hard struggle up that twisting mountain road, and an unstoppable, icy slide down.

Published in: on November 20, 2013 at 9:41 am  Comments (3)  

A New Birth of Freedom: The 150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address

On March 31, 1963, Pres. John F. Kennedy, some family members and friends, drove from Camp David to tour the battlefield at Gettysburg, Pa.  History doesn’t record him honoring the 100th anniversary of Pres. Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address.

However, on Nov. 19, 1963, Kennedy issued a message urging Americans to rededicate themselves to the goals of Abraham Lincoln.  It read: “Let us remember those thousands of American patriots whose graves at home, beneath the sea and in distant lands are silent sentries of our heritage.  Lincoln and others did indeed give us a new birth of freedom, but the goals of liberty…are never ending.”

Those words were read aloud in Gettysburg during the ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of Lincoln’s most famous speech. That ceremony also featured an address by former President Dwight Eisenhower who had preceded Kennedy in the White House.  Kennedy wasn’t there, but Eisenhower – who, in all fairness, built a house on the edge of Gettysburg – attended the ceremony.

Kennedy was a great speaker, in the tradition of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill.  The guy knew how to give a speech.  But he was busy campaigning for the 1964 election, getting ready for his trip to Dallas, Texas, where it was rumored that he was unpopular.  A Congressman riding with Vice President Lyndon Johnson in the ill-fated motorcade noted that the people on the street were smiling and waving; but from the office windows above the route, he saw only dour scowls.  JFK no inkling of what lay ahead and wasn’t thinking much about another great speaker 150 years earlier.

However, Kennedy did visit Gettysburg for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1963. “Five score years ago,” he said, “the ground on which we here stand shuddered under the clash of arms and was consecrated for all time by the blood of American manhood. Abraham Lincoln, in dedicating this great battlefield, [expressed], in words too eloquent for paraphrase or summary, why this sacrifice was necessary.”

Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, delivered on Nov. 19, 1863, was to dedicate a new cemetery, The Soldiers National Cemetery, to the fallen soldiers of Gettysburg.  History tells us that he went through several drafts, the first supposedly on the back of an envelope.  The speech was all of 272 words.  There were no microphones in those days.  When he finished, he was met with silence and feared his speech had not gone over well.  One newspaper criticized the speech roundly and soundly.  This year the editors apologized for their predecessors’ misjudgment.

The speech was just over two minutes and ten sentences in length.  One of the reasons Lincoln may have delivered such a short speech was that he was ill.  On the train trip from Washington to Gettysburg, he complained of weakness, dizziness, and a severe headache.  Scholars later concluded that he may have been in the prodromal period of small pox.  It was the last speech Lincoln would ever write:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that this nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Eyewitness reports vary as to their view of Lincoln’s performance. In 1931, the printed recollections of 87-year-old Mrs. Sarah A. Cooke Myers, who was 19 when she attended the ceremony, suggest a dignified silence followed Lincoln’s speech: “I was close to the President and heard all of the Address, but it seemed short. Then there was an impressive silence like our Menallen Friends Meeting. There was no applause when he stopped speaking.” According to historian Shelby Foote, after Lincoln’s presentation, the applause was delayed, scattered, and “barely polite.”  In contrast, Pennsylvania Governor Curtin maintained, “He pronounced that speech in a voice that all the multitude heard. The crowd was hushed into silence because the President stood before them…It was so Impressive! It was the common remark of everybody. Such a speech, as they said it was!”  Reinterment of soldiers’ remains from field graves into the cemetery, which had begun within months of the battle, was less than half complete on the day of the ceremony.

In an oft-repeated legend, Lincoln is said to have turned to his bodyguard and remarked that his speech, like a bad plow, “won’t scour.” According to Garry Wills, this statement has no basis in fact and largely originates from the unreliable recollections of Lamon. In Garry Wills’s view, “[Lincoln] had done what he wanted to do [at Gettysburg].”

In a letter to Lincoln written the following day, Everett praised the President for his eloquent and concise speech, saying, “I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.”   Lincoln replied that he was glad to know the speech was not a “total failure.”  Another accounts note that the speech was so short that people in the back of the crowd did not realize Lincoln had finished speaking.

Other public reaction to the speech was divided along partisan lines. The Democratic-leaning Chicago Times observed, “The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat and dishwatery utterances of the man who has to be pointed out to intelligent foreigners as the President of the United States.”  In contrast, the [then-] Republican-leaning New York Times was complimentary.  In Massachusetts, the Springfield Republican printed the entire speech, calling it “a perfect gem” that was “deep in feeling, compact in thought and expression, and tasteful and elegant in every word and comma.” The Republican predicted that Lincoln’s brief remarks would “repay further study as the model speech.”

The Harrisburg Patriot & Union, about 35 miles northeast of Gettysburg, printed a dismissive editorial describing the speech as “silly remarks” that deserved a “veil of oblivion.”  This year, its success the Patriot-News of Harrisburg apologized, retracting their predecessors’ remarks, saying that the 1863 coverage was wrong

The president’s speech is now considered a triumph of American oratory.

The retraction, which echoes Lincoln’s now-familiar language, said the newspaper’s November 1863 coverage was wrong when it described the speech as “silly remarks” that deserved a “veil of oblivion.”  The editors write that the paper regrets the error of its predecessors not seeing its “momentous importance, timeless eloquence and lasting significance.”

Kennedy made a mistake in not personally attending the ceremony.  He put politics before history.  Civil rights were very much in the forefront of American politics in 1963, with Blacks agitating for their civil rights and he may not have want to stir the fires of controversy by commemorating the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s elegy.   By the way, the farmer who owned the field where Pickett’s Charge took place was a free Black man.  Just saying.

Obama is stubbornly determined to make the same error.  The ghosts of those same notions about the Civil War and its purpose haunt us today, as they did in 1963 and in 1863.  Some Northern soldiers are recorded writing home to say that they signed up to preserve the Union, not free the slaves.  Blacks held the same view.  This philosophy is the heart and soul of Black Liberation Theology.

Northerners in New York and Pennsylvania, weary of the war, were ready to give in to the South and withdraw their support of the war.  Draft riots burned in the streets of Philadelphia and New York City.  Lincoln was desperate for Americans to understand why the war was important;  General Lee, desperate to return his Army South before there was no army left, wanted to press this political and populist advantage in order to end the war.

And it almost worked.  In January of that year, Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation, an Executive Order of sorts, freeing the slaves by fiat.  The South was not pleased, nor was the North.  Nevertheless, the slaves were liberated and now Lincoln had to unify the country and resign them to the fact that Blacks were equal human beings.

Obama – our “president” – our first Black “president” – will not be attending the ceremonies in Gettysburg this morning (at 10 a.m.).  According to news reports, his schedule is open.  Gettysburg is no more than a short helicopter ride away from Camp David, just over the border between Maryland and Pennsylvania.

So why does he refuse to go?  Well, to begin with, the contrast between Lincoln’s brief, two-minute speech and Obama’s professorial lectures is a yawning chasm.  Obama doesn’t know when to stop.  Obama must use a teleprompter and has all the advantages of modern technology.  Lincoln had only his own, rather high-pitched voice.  Obama could never admit that Lincoln was a better speaker than he is.

Then there’s the matter of Black Liberation Theology.  To set foot in Gettysburg, and worse, to visit the graves of the White northern soldiers would totally demolish his premise that these soldiers had made the ultimate sacrifice to free the slaves.  The nation, maybe, but not the Blacks.  History may even be on his side.  But all the same, they gave their lives for their country.  The issue was not merely states’ rights but states’ rights to hold other human beings in bondage.

Obama was not the product of a union of slaves.  He was born to a free African from Kenya who, as far as we know, never became an American, and a white, Communist mother from the Mid-West.  There is no slavery in his blood, no connection, no heritage to which he can relate.  The best he can manage is British Colonialism in Kenya.  A far cry from moldering graves in Gettysburg.

Right from the first paragraph of the address, Obama would have “issues”:  “Fourscore and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

As far as Obama and the Progressives are concerned, those “fathers” brought forth Capitalism, greed, slavery, and disease.  “Liberty” is a dirty word to Obama, connoting selfishness and individualism.  The Founding Fathers, according to the Obama Doctrine, did not believe that all men were created equal or they would not have practiced slavery.  Never mind that this was a president speaking 242 years after the Pilgrims had landed.

“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.”

This was Lincoln, in his second paragraph, defining the war for the doubters and the objectors who felt the war was simply being fought to keep the nation together.  Lincoln had to silence the doubters who felt it might be better to let the South keep its slaves, even if that meant belying our Declaration of Independence.  Lincoln nothing to lose in this plea; he’d signed his own death warrant when he signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

Obama is not dedicated to the proposition of a nation conceived in selfish liberty.  He would never honor a speech that said so, even if it was given in the cause of freeing the Black slaves.

“We are met on a great battle field of that war.  We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that this nation might live.”

To Obama, the men lying in those graves are not heroes, but self-serving racists keeping a Capitalist, imperialist nation alive.

“But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate – we cannot consecrate – we cannot hallow – this ground.  The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.”

Again, Obama would not agree that the Union soldiers were any braver than the Confederate soldiers fighting for slavery.  He would insolently deny that his power to detract from their heroic sacrifices is poor.

“The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.”

If Obama has his way, the world will forget and someday the entire Gettysburg National Park will be mowed down to make way for Affordable Housing.

“It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.”  Nobility.  Another notion that Obama would dismiss.

“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.”

Obama would rather be anywhere than in Gettysburg on the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address.  To do so would to betray his allegiance to Black Liberation Theology, keeping alive the notion that White people are irrevocably racist.

“-that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom –“

Hold on, hold on.  Did Lincoln really say ‘under God’ and “a new birth of freedom’?  We know he did; there’s no doubt of that.  But for Obama to go to Gettysburg today, he would be expected to repeat those words.  Not a chance.  No way.  Dream on.

“-and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

A government of, by, and for the people?  We expect Obama, a black president, to recite those words, standing on the burial ground of men he and his followers consider to be white racists?  To recite those words would negate everything for which he’s been trained and labored since he was a bong-smoking student in college.

Perish the thought.

Published in: on November 19, 2013 at 9:31 am  Comments (2)