Thursday, November 5, 2009

A New McCarthyism?

Lately I have been watching Glenn Beck on Fox News. It seems that every night Beck takes blackboards with the names of his political opponents on them and starts slaping up signs reading "Socialist", "Communist", or similar things. Those words have been used many times in the past to demonize and persecute.

Wikipedia defines McCarthyism as "the politically motivated practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence". They also say:

During the post–World War II era of McCarthyism, many thousands of Americans were accused of being Communists or communist sympathizers and became the subject of aggressive investigations and questioning before government or private-industry panels, committees and agencies. The primary targets of such suspicions were government employees, those in the entertainment industry, educators and union activists. Suspicions were often given credence despite inconclusive or questionable evidence, and the level of threat posed by a person's real or supposed leftist associations or beliefs was often greatly exaggerated. Many people suffered loss of employment, destruction of their careers, and even imprisonment. Most of these punishments came about through trial verdicts later overturned, laws that would be declared unconstitutional, dismissals for reasons later declared illegal or actionable, or extra-legal procedures that would come into general disrepute."

Any of us who have studied that time know the consequences of this kind of daily slander: the blacklisting of innocent people. Glenn Beck knows that too. He is the kind of demagogue that can instigate all manner of things later regretted. Congratulations Fox News for being the channel for a new witch hunt. Maybe we shouldn't call what that network disseminates "news".

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Why are there no African Americans in the UW Marching Band?

Several weeks ago I was in Madison and went with a friend to see the University of Wisconsin Marching Band practice. Here I was on a campus filled with African American's, Hispanic's, and many other minorities but none were to be seen in the band. Why? I have sent a letter to the Chancellor asking why. If I get an answer I will post it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Remembering a brave man

From the Grant County Herald, Lancaster, WI June 8, 1910

Ambushed by Hidden Natives in
the. Philippines.
Received Charge of Buckshot in Right
Arm and Had Narrow Escape
From Death.

Eugene Whitmore yesterday received from his son Major Eugene Whitmore, copy of the Manila (P. L) Times dated April 27, which contains an account of a fight in which Lieutenant "Ted" Lowry of the U. S. Constabulary was slightly wounded and two privates killed. Lieutenant Lowry whose headquarters are on the Island of Bongao, was instructed to go to Cagayan de. Jolo and arrest a murderer Moro Nuca by name. After an unsuccessful attempt to take him diplomatically he found that the man and certain of his followers were looking for a fight and on the morning of the 11th he left camp with 10 men to investigate conditions.

Because of the treachery of a Moro guide they suddenly ran into a band of Moros who rose from the thick cogon grass and catnip brush," about fifteen paces to the front. The Moros were ordered to put down their arms but instead they drew their bolos. The account in the Manila Times which was written by Lieut. Lowry reads in part from this point as fol-lows:

"Being in front of my detachment, I fired with my revolver receiving at the instant of firing a load of buckshot in my upper right arm from my gun bearer behind who immediately fled. The leading Moro at this moment was about twenty feet from me and in the act of throwing his spear at me when Sergeant Lastam sprang suddenly in front of me. receiving the spear in his head, being killed instantly. Sergeant Almano the second man in the line was speared through the back: pulling the spear out himself he commenced firing as quietly (sic) as if on the drill ground.

Note: To recall the bravery of Sergeant Lastam the people of the Episcopal Church in Lancaster erected a monument. That monument now lies in weeds behind the church, and I am attaching a photo of it as it now appears. Perhaps it deserves better treatment.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

We Want The Government Out Of Our Business Now!

At a town hall meeting held by Congressman Steny Hoyer, April M. Burke of Mechanicsville, said her son and daughter-in-law had both lost their jobs and health insurance, but still were covered by the state. "We want the government out of our business now," she bellowed to cheers from the audience.

I take it that this is what she meant:

I’m sure my kids will give up that state provided health care; it probably gets Federal Government money anyway. They don’t want that Unemployment Compensation either! I want to give up using the public roads. Road crews, Highway Patrol – out! I want to get all the police out of my town, and dump the FBI too! We don’t need them. We have our guns. I want no air traffic controllers when I fly. I want the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard eliminated – right now! I want Social Security and Medicare ended – right now! I’ll take in my mother. Kick out the doctors at the Centers for Disease Control. Out of the way Public Health Service! Disease is natural anyway. Send the Border Patrol packing. We don’t need them. We have our guns. Close down all the public schools – right now! My kids don’t like books or reading anyway and neither do I. Close that State University too! End all farm price supports and subsidies. We don’t care if the farmers fail. We’ll grow our own food. Bye-bye USDA! Close all those military bases that support Red America with Blue America’s taxes. Kick every Medicaid patient out of the nursing home. I know that’s most of them but I don’t care! Close them prisons! I can handle the released criminals. I’ve got my guns! No more guaranteed loans to students. No more Locks and Dams on the rivers. No bridges – remember, we don’t need them without roads. No more money. Let each bank issue their own. Yup, get government out of our business now!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Return of the Know Nothing Party a.k.a. Arizona Idiots

I am watching Senator McCain's town hall meeting. Misinformed, prejudiced, selfish people overwhelming all reasoned discussion. Has our nation fallen to the level that cynical lies are taken for truth by people too lazy to look up the facts for themselves? The financial interests which run some of the news media, notably certain lying and distorting news networks, leave these intellectual limp wrists in paroxysm's of panic and anger. These networks want to keep the ratings up by pandering to overt liars carrying water for those making good money from the broken, killing health care system we now have. I am sorry, but ignorance is no excuse! I say to those of you shouting instead of thinking: get yourself educated or you will send your country down the toilet. These idiots don't want our elected government to run things, but they sure don't mind the unelected monied elite doing it by co-opting them with emotional scare tactics. There are many ways to make things better - public or private, but you have to think. Any viewpoint that has an underpinning of truth can pursue its interest with calm democratic debate, but I'm not seeing citizens here, I'm seeing bullies loosed by a news network that tells them that what they are doing is just fine. The welfare of our nation depends on an informed electorate, which pursues conflict democratically. God forbid that these are what pass for citizens and patriots. Waving a flag doesn't make you a good citizen, but learning our history, intelligently studying the issues, and participating in the democratic process will. Let's end the disruptive shouting of the know nothing empty heads, and demand reasoned discourse. There are too many thoughtful people on both sides (including McCain)trying to heal a broken medical care system. It galls me to see people booing him (McCain) when he concedes that both he and Obama are sincere in wanting to find a solution. This crowd looks like a lynch mob. If these forums aren't controlled by civic rules, and interpersonal civility a disaster may occur. We have already seen armed nuts stalking the presidents forums.

Return of the Know Nothing Party a.k.a. Arizona Idiots

I am watching Senator McCain's town hall meeting. Misinformed, prejudiced, selfish people overwhelming all reasoned discussion. Has our nation fallen to the level that cynical lies are taken for truth by people too lazy to look up the facts for themselves? The financial interests which run some of the news media, notably certain lying and distorting news networks, leave these intellectual limp wrists in paroxysm's of panic and anger. These networks want to keep the ratings up by pandering to overt liars carrying water for those making good money from the broken, killing health care system we now have. I am sorry, but ignorance is no excuse! I say to those of you shouting instead of thinking: get yourself educated or you will send your country down the toilet. These idiots don't want our elected government to run things, but they sure don't mind the unelected monied elite doing it by co-opting them with emotional scare tactics. There are many ways to make things better - public or private, but you have to think. Any viewpoint that has an underpinning of truth can pursue its interest with calm democratic debate, but I'm not seeing citizens here, I'm seeing bullies loosed by a news network that tells them that what they are doing is just fine. The welfare of our nation depends on an informed electorate, which pursues conflict democratically. God forbid that these are what pass for citizens and patriots. Waving a flag doesn't make you a good citizen, but learning our history, intelligently studying the issues, and participating in the democratic process will. Let's end the disruptive shouting of the know nothing empty heads, and demand reasoned discourse. There are too many thoughtful people on both sides (including McCain)trying to heal a broken medical care system. It galls me to see people booing him (McCain) when he concedes that both he and Obama are sincere in wanting to find a solution. This crowd looks like a lynch mob. If these forums aren't controlled by civic rules, and interpersonal civility a disaster may occur. We have already seen armed nuts stalking the presidents forums.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Is The FCIP Legal? - Social Security Corrupt Hiring Practices exposed



Now at last comes a decision that begins to peel away the veneer of legitimacy from the corrupt hiring practices of the Social Security Administration. Nepotism and cronyism have insinuated themselves into every aspect of Federal Hiring. My complaints to Congress go without action as what is endemic is viewed as right. See my prior posting at:

MSPB Agrees with NTEU Position on Veteran’s Standing to Challenge FCIP

Washington, D.C.—The continuing battle by the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) to end agency misuse of the Federal Career Intern Program (FCIP) has taken another step forward with a favorable procedural ruling by the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).

As sought by NTEU, the board reversed a decision by an administrative judge, ruling that a 30 percent disabled veteran has legal standing to challenge the use of the FCIP by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

NTEU filed a friend-of-the-court brief in this case, Weed v. SSA, arguing successfully that the plaintiff was injured by SSA’s use of a hiring strategy that effectively prevented him from even applying for an open position, and thus denied him his veteran’s preference rights. The MSPB sent the case back to the judge to allow for factual development on the question of the legality of the FCIP.

“This decision parallels NTEU’s recent win on jurisdictional issues in our pending lawsuit challenging Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulations implementing the FCIP,” said NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley. Last month, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed OPM’s jurisdictional and procedural objections to the NTEU suit filed in January 2007, allowing the union’s direct challenge to the FCIP to go forward.

“The MSPB decision should send a further signal to OPM that the legality of the FCIP is in serious question,” Kelley said.

The FCIP is a special-focus hiring program originally intended to provide formally-structured, two-year training and development internships for agencies to use as a strategic hiring tool. Instead, and because OPM placed few restrictions on the program, it has been used by a number of agencies to fill a wide range of positions—which, after a two-year ‘internship,’ are converted without competition to permanent competitive service status.

In addition to bypassing veteran’s preference rights, one of its most serious impacts is to reduce promotional opportunities for present members of the federal workforce. “The way agencies are misusing the FCIP,” President Kelley said, “all too often blocks the advancement path of employees who have proven themselves ready for promotion. It is a clear distortion of the program’s intent.”

The FCIP has been eagerly embraced by such agencies as the Internal Revenue Service, which is using it to hire key enforcement personnel including Revenue Officers and Revenue Agents; U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which has used it for some years as its sole means of hiring new CBP Officers; and SSA, which in fiscal 2008 used the FCIP for 62 percent of its new hires.

NTEU argues that such misuse of the FCIP undercuts key merit system principles, including the requirement for “fair and open competition” for jobs as a way to ensure equal opportunity.

In the Weed case, SSA advertised the availability of four positions—for which the plaintiff was qualified—on a state university web site accessible only to students and alumni; Weed was neither. All of the positions were filled using the FCIP. Weed, supported by NTEU’s brief arguing that the FCIP is not a valid exception to competitive hiring procedures, said the posting made it impossible for him, and similarly-situated veterans, to learn of the vacancies.

“The MSPB decision now allows Mr. Weed to get to the heart of the problem—that the ways agencies use the FCIP can all but eliminate fair and open competition from the applicant process and does real harm to veterans and others who would like to be fairly considered for open positions in the federal government,” President Kelley said.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What The Democrats Must Do

Health care reform is bogged down in misinformation pushed by Faux News, Glenn Beck (the hysteric), and Rush Linbaugh (head of the Republican Party). What they do is lie. It is profitable and there are many fools to follow them. The death and illness they want to perpetuate bothers them not a bit. The money they and their masters make from the hysteria and propaganda is what is important to them, which brings me to the point. We don't need to give them ammunition. There are a number of criticisms they made which we can address, and maybe cut down on the shouting. First, we can add specific language to the bill stating that federal funds will not be used for abortion. Yes that is redundant with the Hyde Amendment, but ink is cheap. Second, accept tort reform. It will save on the costs and it is important to compromise to get to the goal. We have to achieve universal coverage. That is the moral imperative.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Brave and Lucid Response To My Thoughts

Mr. Charles Daumbacher of Dubuque Iowa read my letter to the Dubuque Telegraph Herald, also titled "Medicare Thugs" in this blog. His thoughtful and intelligent response, sent to me in the U. S. Mail is: "I would very much like to see things from your point of view; but no matter how hard I try; I just can't get my head that far up my ass." This is typical of the type of person I saw at the congressional town hall standing in the back. Alas, arguing with this "intellectual" would be like arguing with the bathroom toilet. He could have written an insightful response, but to do so he would have had to have some insight. There are better advocates against health care, who I respect very much and who can state their valid concerns. The media right, though, has incited this kind of mindless rage as a tool to kill health care for all. This ugly response is apparently from an uninformed person carrying water for the corporate medical and drug interests who do not want to fall off the gravy train. I would bet that Mr. Daumbacher has nothing in common with these captains of commerce, but he is doing their bidding nonetheless. I am sure Mr. Daumbacher feels no obligation to those who needlessly die or become disabled from lack of access to medical care. He is not alone. There are thousands of "Ditto Heads" in his club.

The Congressional Town Meeting

I went to Rep. Kind's town hall meeting on health care reform. Most of those attending were sincere people with valid concerns, but also a lot of wing nuts. The wing nuts stood at the back hooting and jeering. They looked like an assembly of town cranks. One randomly shouted "freedom!". Old ladies, Medicare eligible, with bouffant hairdo's shook their heads affirmatively as the cranks marched to the microphone, and told folks how they wanted the Government out of all health care. One old guy told me he had "given up" Medicare. He said he got Blue Cross for $100/mo. He was confused, obviously describing his Medicare Supplement policy, but he was nonetheless prideful about “kicking the government out”. Too many were like the lady who told Barney Frank at one of his town meetings that health care reform is a Nazi plot. See: He told her that addressing her was like arguing with the dining room table. That's how I felt about a lot of these nuts. One lady, apparently a clerk in a doctor’s office harangued the congressman about the ‘irresponsible” people who “won’t pay their bills”. She didn’t seem able or willing to consider for a moment that many self-employed and working poor might not be able to pay. A local veterinarian in what looked like a blue prison jump suit, said he wanted to get back to just the doctor and a patient, no insurance, no government. He said he works payment out with his patients and so should everyone. I believe, at least I hope, that his patients are animals. Sneering old men with sheaves of paper crumpled in their fists strode like Marshall Dillon to the mike and harangued Rep. Kind, who sat there smiling the same at critics and supporters. What was accomplished? I gained a whole new awareness of the power of the media to scare the wits out of folks with paid lies and distortions. I also saw in the young congressional aides standing about what looked like amused aloofness. For myself, I found very little that was funny in this American tragedy. Twenty two thousand unnecessary deaths a year for the uninsured is just not funny to me. Strangely, none of the opponents suggested alternative means of ending these unnecessary deaths. I don't think they considered these tragic deaths to be any of their business, and certainly not a moral responsibility.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Family Civil War Part 2

Bro wrote:

If the Health Care issue never arouse, you wouldn't be arguing with mom. And you know what really ticks her off more than anything...abortion. 67 million kids have been murdered since the mid sixties in the US alone. Now that's an issue we should be debating. Death has already happened. Without a National Health care plan, we're assuming many will be lost. Are people dying or suffering now any more than they did in the past? There has never been a national health care plan.

It all comes down to an extended life issue, whether it's health care or the abortion issue, the economy we're all fighting for an extended life for ourselves and our loved ones and those we know that suffer. If the National Health care plan passes, does that guarantee that you'll live longer than you will without it, or anyone live longer. How do you know how long people will live, with or without health care, do you have ESPN. Many people with good health care die every day, I see it at the hosp. So how many more will live longer than they would anyway without health care. AM not saying that health care isn't necessary, it is. But so is family, exercise, working, trusting God, etc.

Do you seriously think that Conservatives and Christians want people to die? Just because they don't believe the health care plan pushed by Obama agrees with their interest. That's sad if you do. I don't want people to die or suffer, even though I'm not excited about a national health care plan.

We need to stop angering each other over any issue, debate and discussion o.k., but not hate. I certainly don't hate you or am I angry about what you say or do. I can certainly tell in your emails that you seem to hate people for not agreeing with you. What happened to democracy, what happen to love.

You want to be able to disagree vehemently with many, but get mad and attack the ones that disagree with you.

We all need to step back and put love first.

Love ya Bro.


I Replied:

Cheap Tactic calling me a "hater". (editorial comment)


I love ya but I have to tell you and mom that you are wrong. I don't even think it is so much the health care issue as it is the national debt. I believe that decent people want others to be able to get medical care, but they worry about the country going broke. We bailed the bankers for three times the 10 year cost of this reform cited (erroneously I think) by the worst case scenario of the critics. They don't cite the anticipated cost increases if nothing is done, which far exceed the reform model with its cost containment measures.

If 22,000 unnecessary deaths a year doesn't affect your thinking about things how can you defend being pro-life? Shouldn't we all be fired up about that? The infant mortality rate would be much higher if not for Federal Medicaid and WIC, both of which would be called "socialism" by these same critics (as would Medicare). I haven't heard the same critics calling for an end to these programs, which they should if they were logically consistent, but they know nobody would listen to them then.

Babies of uninsured mothers are at higher risk of infant mortality. Even after controlling for important explanatory factors like age, income, and health and
pregnancy history, babies born to low-income uninsured mothers are 60 percent more
likely to die in the first month after birth.


The U.S. has a higher infant mortality rate than all other developed countries. source:

How Does Being Uninsured Harm Individuals and Families?

* Studies estimate that the number of excess deaths among uninsured adults age 25-64 is in the range of 22,000 a year. This mortality figure is more than the number of deaths from diabetes (17,500) within the same age group.8
* Lack of insurance compromises the health of the uninsured because they receive less preventive care, they are diagnosed at more advanced disease stages, and once diagnosed, tend to receive less therapeutic care and have higher mortality rates than insured individuals.9
* Controlling for age, race, sex, and income, uninsured cancer patients are 1.6 times more likely than insured patients to die within five years of diagnosis. 10
* The high cost of health care can damage the overall economic well-being of families. One in three low-income parents without coverage report medical bills have a major financial impact on their families.11
* On average, the uninsured are 9 to 10 times more likely to forgo medical care because of cost and twice as likely to have medical debt. 9
* The uninsured are increasingly paying “up front” -- before services will be rendered. When they are unable to pay the full medical bill in cash at the time of service, they can be turned away except in life-threatening circumstances.12
* Access to an emergency room for uninsured patients does not qualify as access to coordinated care. While physicians are required to stabilize patients in an emergency, they are not required to treat the condition comprehensively. 13
* Over the last decade, disparities between the uninsured and insured widened in access to a usual source of care, annual check-ups, and preventive care, and are the greatest in disparities and our growing.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A New Civil war? A Conversation on Religion and Health Care

My Brother wrote:

Your site ( sounds very hateful, resentful and condemning, oh, and demeaning to me. Because I don't hold the same ideals that you do, doesn't mean I'm less a person or should be condemned.

There has never been a national health plan, why now? Is it cheaper, less strings, more ability, more science, why? Should everyone pay for all the needs of others; personal needs, cars, housing, food, etc.
Jesus said, "a willing heart". He didn't say you have to. All through the bible it talks about choice. Adam and Eve had a choice, Noah had a choice, Moses, David and even Jesus had a choice. God may not have agreed with their choices, but He can them a choice. Sounds like you're condemning people for not believing in what you think is right. What if others consider your thoughts on health care injustice, should God condemn them?

Throughout America's and the world history many people(s) didn't have a national health care plan and people survived. I didn't have it for years, until I got the right job. I wasn't telling others to pay for a plan for me. Why the need for a national plan now...cheaper, better science, a richer country, more diseases, people dying earlier? God tells us to care about the windows, orphans, poor and those placed in jails unjustly. But He still gives us as choice to do it and a choice to choose the people to help.

Don't let this debate destroy your love of family or country. There's so much more to do.

There seems to be more than the health care issue that frightens you. What are you afraid of? Are you lacking faith? Are you so worried that your wife or your kids might end up caring for a cripple that you've lost your Faith in God. God is in charge, not us. Even if the health care plan passes and I suspect it will, many may still die, Then what? Will you blame me, mom, or others. God cares for His people no matter what their circumstances, the difference between them and most of us is, they have a trusting faith in God and we, as Jesus often said, " are of little faith".

Faith is believing that God not only cares, but will do what He says. I don't know what He has in store for us. We're considering visiting either Ethiopia (sponsor a child there), Philippines, or Israel and Jordan. But what if we go and something happens to one of us. We only know this, that God loves us and cares for us, and will watch over us. We may just sell everything and become missionaries.

The most important thing is to place our trust in God and our salvation in His son's work on the cross. God loves this country with all it's faults, including yours and mine. Each one of us are called for a particular duty or duties, but the most important is to demonstrate Gods love to as many as we can and take His word to the world. From there, His spirit will guide us.

God said that He will judge and we must leave it up to Him. We simply need to do what He asks us to and if trying to convince others of the need for the health care plan is what you were called to do, then do it. But if He's called me to something else, then I must do that.

Trust God first and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matt 6:33)

I replied:

Hate is wanting to let people die. I don't condemn you for not wanting "Obama's Plan" with the proviso that you know what the plan is. I watch the town meetings on Faux New's, CNN, and others all day. Those people shouting down everyone else look like a collection of local town bullies. I think their conduct is indefensible. I know that when I was a protester I would have been drug out and beaten for acting that way, so maybe it is a better world now, even if you can't hear the non right wing side.

God will judge you and I. I have always listened to evangelical's call down hellfire on everyone else, so maybe they need to hear the same for the evil of killing uninsured people. It is as simple as that. I watched it for 34 years. I know you are a loving and caring brother, but your allies are telling lies and distorting the facts by calling this socialism. There is no plan for the government to be a single payor, or to own the hospitals and clinics. There is no mandate to pay for abortion. There is no plan to kill people when they get too old. The truth is that the distortion artists are carrying water for the people and corporations that want to bleed us and treat health care like a product to market - can't afford it - go out and die. I ask you again, what is Christian about that? I keep asking and no one gives me an answer.

Yes I am mad about what I am seeing with the orchestrated bullying tactics of the TEA Party and others. I think it is a righteous anger. My children's future hangs on the line. I can pay my daughter's health care insurance premiums only so long, and then I have to let her go into the darkness of this country's ignorance, perhaps at the cost of her life. Same is true for you and your children. It doesn't have to be government run, but I know that there is no sincerity on the other side to do a thing for the uninsured, the under-insured, or for us. When they kill Obama's initiative, which he is more than willing to compromise on, they they will bleed us and run us into national bankruptcy. Doing nothing as I tried to show is the surest way to national bankruptcy. I love my country and I am sick and tired of the arrogance of right wingers in thinking that they are the only one's that love their country. You just said it about me now!

I have great faith in God. I believe he can do righteousness in this world in a real sense with us as his instruments. Faith without works is dead because God calls us to work for his good. I am doing what I believe God wants me to do. God didn't say fight against health care. God directs us to see that the poor and needy are cared for. A willing heart would try to get that done, either in your way or in mine. Mom said to me that this should be done by charity and free will giving, but which of us or any collection of us as churches could bear the burden of one members short illness and the hundreds of thousands of dollars it would cost? Government exists to do good and to do the things that are too big for individuals or small groups to do. Government exists to make laws that bring justice. That is why our country passed Medicare in the sixties with the same sort of misguided opposition that we see now. Ask yourself, what would mom do without it? Would you be worried if she didn't have it or would you say "well, nothing to worry about because I have faith". That would be making faith a rationale for injustice and death. God doesn't want to you be oblivious because you have faith. At least I don't think he does. Why go to Ethiopia if you can just say God will take care of it. No, we must be Gods instruments for good in this world. For you it means volunteering and going to Ethiopia, for me it means volunteering at the food pantry, community garden, church, and working real hard to get everyone access to the care God wants all his ill children to have. You don't think God doesn't want the sick to be healed do you? If he does want healing, wouldn't he want it done by those with hands that can do it? I love my country enough to believe that it can do better. Carl Shurz said: “I confidently trust that the American people will prove themselves … too wise not to detect the false pride or the dangerous ambitions or the selfish schemes which so often hide themselves under that deceptive cry of mock patriotism: ‘Our country, right or wrong!’ They will not fail to recognize that our dignity, our free institutions and the peace and welfare of this and coming generations of Americans will be secure only as we cling to the watchword of true patriotism: ‘Our country—when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right.’”

Friday, August 7, 2009

Medicare Eligible Thugs against Health Care Reform

Have you been watching the news coverage of the congressional town meetings? They are being disrupted by people shouting down any intelligent discussion of Health Care Reform. The news media have shown copies of written instructions on how to disrupt meetings being given to them by Republican Activists. When I was a young man in the 60's opposing the war, I would have been drug out and beaten by the police for doing something like that. We were peaceful protesters.

Have you noticed that all of the shouters seem to be oldsters well over sixty five. They are on Medicare! They are recipients of government run health care, and there they are shouting down people trying to extend some (but by no means all) of the benefits they themselves get from the government to their children and grandchildren. Talk about gall! These recipient terrorists are sparking a generational war. The last I heard, Medicare is going to be broke in 2017. I guess I will advise the young ones to shout at their Congresspersons to let it die. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Let's throw them out into the current American health care system that they think is so good for everyone but them. Let's see if they can get coverage. I'll bet that a lot of them couldn't at any price. That would put them where a lot of the rest of us are.

It is shameful to see these old government Social Insurance Beneficiaries shouting to deprive others of what they themselves have. Are they so pampered that they can advocate for illness, disease, and death from lack of health care access for their own children and grandchildren. As a parent and grandparent, I believe I should help to make life better for my younger relatives. I and my wife have sacrificed to be a help for them because buying a home, and raising a child is no easy matter. Apparently some oldsters are so self absorbed that basic health care for their own means nothing.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Facebook Conversation about Healthcare Reform


Mr. S
Can you explain to me how the health care plan is going to improve the overall economy of the US? I noticed that was a main point he made tonight.

Dennis Wilson
Lower premium costs for those of us paying for the uninsured. Fewer people dying needlessly (I saw it for years woring for Social Security) due to no coverage. Fewer bankruptcies of middle class people ruined by insurance that was inadequate, unattainable due to pre-existing illness, or unaffordable. Real insurance provider competition instead of non competitive insurance company buyouts and consolidations to create area monopolies (see Lower costs for pharmaceuticals like everyone else in the world gets. Lower costs for good employers that provide adequate employee coverage, hence making them more competitive (We can't compete with twice as high health costs built into our products versus any other industrialized country). Fewer economic crises (swings) caused by the economic insecurity of middle class Americans who can lose everything with an accident or illness (read "The Great Risk Shift" by Jacob S. Hacker).

I have great health insurance as a Federal Retiree, but it breaks my heart to see my children and other peoples children grow up into a world where the jobs don't provide health insurance. This is true of my college educated son and my daughter who works for McDonald's. By the way, big companies like McDonald's and Wal-Mart drive their competition out of business by not providing benefits and then when their employee's get ill where do they go? I'll tell you where. They go to Medicaid and we taxpayers get to pay. What is Christian about wanting to deprive people of health care? I don't get that. Is health care just a product? Can't pay? Go die.

Mrs Z

Mr. S
You make some good points. I hope no one thinks there's anything Christian about any large corporation, insurance company or legal firm(the last two the main reasons costs are so high). And I don't believe most people want to deprive anyone of health care. Unfortunately, we hear that the "go die" is exactly what happens in some countries with nationalized health care when they realize that there's not enough money to pay for everyone's care, then everyone gets sub-par health care. Also, under nationalized health care, the taxpayer does pay for almost everything. I don't see the difference there between paying for Medicaid and what is being proposed. Still there has to be a middle ground between the "free market" and the "government run". Additionally, greed and lack of morals is a big part of the problem with the system today. That does not go away just because the government is controlling everything. The immoral people are there too. My Dad was a doctor, and I have several other medical people in my family, and they all look(ed) at Government run health care skeptically, and it is not an income issue with them. Dad chose many times to minister to those who had no insurance or means to pay at no charge or on the barter system. My sister and wife also would do so in their medical professions if at all possible. If we could get back to the human aspect of health care, with decisions being made between patient and doctor or other medical professional in an honest, caring fashion, our system would be better. They are not sure that the Government being involved will bring that back. Would it not be more helpful if there was better Government oversight of the medical, corporate and legal systems, reigning in their excesses rather than trying to run the whole thing? After all the problem is a moral one.

Dennis Wilson
S, your response is a breath of fresh air. The things I am seeing and hearing from opponents are so vicious and mostly misleading. Still look at the thousands of stories on this site and tell me our system isn't the most expensive broken down car on the road:
read this one especially;

Mr. S
Well, I do not like the way most of the conservative naysayers respond to alternative viewpoints on national health care. I don't know why so many folks can't discuss the subject rationally with at least anecdotal evidence such as the stories on the links you provided as back-up, or actual taceable stories that show the flaws of" government run". We now know both systems have their flaws and if we could take the best aspects of both we may have an answer. Believe me I have my own story. My daughter was given 50 therapy sessions as part of our Dean Health Plan. When they were done, we were on our own, even though she was still improving after those sessions. Today, after10's of thousands of dollars of out-of-pocket therapy sessions, she is walking. I'm convinced the reason they denied the additional sessions is because she was given only a 5% chance of walking again. The insurance company took advantage of a dire prognosis in order to deny additional coverage, also against the doctors' recommendations who were treating her. They are indeed b*******s in my opinion.

Dennis Wilson
I have Dean Health also. Effectively they deny care just like my mother (medicare) thinks the government will do to old folks. She fears "socialism" but what Canada has is nothing like what is being proposed for us. I think those stories (and yours) show that fundamental reforms are needed. I am afraid that the big money interests are out to kill all changes, and we just can't afford to go on with things as they are.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sotomayor Hearing

Isn't it amazing that even the Democrats are trying to emphasize how often Judge Sotomayor has denied discrimination claims. Only about one in eight allegations of discrimination results in any relief for the complainant. Does that mean that discrimination is rare? Not at all. Discrimination is rampant and if anything a growing phenomenon in an aging and multicultural society. What those facts prove is that the entire system is weighted against those who are victims of discrimination. They, with their limited funds and often no attorney, are forced to confront the high paid legal staffs of Corporations and Governments who are determined to do anything but guarantee equal rights, corporations and governments which are populated with recipients of graft, cronyism, and favored treatment for white employees (who still dominate the upper ranks of corporations and government. A lot of those federal court judges and supreme court justices are graduates of the legal staffs of these "beat them down" employer cabals. This supreme court needs change very badly. Talk about "activist judges"! These justices have used every convoluted rationale possible over and over again to gut the very modest protections that law provides for minorities, women, and older Americans by overturning long established precedents. Let's hope that Sotomayor will bring her experiences as a Latina to play. Maybe that will give the Supreme Court an ever so faint air of justice. Justice is not blind, but sometimes it seems that the only color it recognizes is white, and the only voice it hears is the one backed by money.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Federal Government Knows about Hiring Practice Corruption, but Won't End It

Here are excerpts from a 2003 Government publication called "Reforming Federal Hiring: Beyond Faster and Cheaper" It shows that they know there is massive abuse.

"Hiring highly qualified people is one of the most important factors in developing a successful organization. Accordingly, the overall purpose of a hiring system is to identify, attract, and hire the candidates who can best meet the needs of the organization. Because the Federal Government must be answerable to the American public, it is particularly important that its hiring decisions be based on merit and support the public’s interests.

"On the other hand, making selections that are influenced by non-merit factors can result in hiring candidates who do not possess the skills necessary to perform the job. Poor selections can result from taking shortcuts in: defining the needs of the job; recruiting from the best sources; or assessing candidates. These poor selections can then ultimately increase costs and decrease productivity.

Public Notice and Recruitment: Excepted service positions do not require “public notice” as defined in the competitive service. This means that agencies are not required to notify OPM of vacancies for which applicants outside the agency may apply and are not required to post those jobs on USAJOBS. Nevertheless, these positions are still subject to the merit system principles (in what way?).

"Our research suggests that information about excepted service positions is frequently difficult to find. These positions are often not posted on USAJOBS or the agency’s Web site because they are not required to be posted. For instance, MSPB surveyed Federal Career Interns, and a quarter of them reported that it was difficult to find out about internships in their agency.82 Furthermore, agencies that hired career interns cited college recruitment as a leading recruitment method.83 While college recruitment can be an effective recruitment strategy, it can exclude from consideration qualified individuals not currently pursuing a college degree.

"To address inefficiencies and inequities in the Federal hiring system, the Government has created a number of sanctioned alternatives to the competitive examining process. For instance, the Federal Career Intern Program and other excepted service hiring authorities do not require traditional competition in which applicants are rated and ranked. However, some of these alternatives can impede fair and open competition and advancement based solely on relative ability. In addition, they can result in unsound hiring decisions and can actually create disincentives to invest resources in good recruitment and assessment practices.

"While excepted service appointments do not require agencies to follow competitive examining procedures, the process is still in a real sense competitive (yeah sure!). Applicants submit an application, and their qualifications are evaluated against what is needed to perform the job (Not a chance these days!) . However, recruitment and assessment rules are not as proscriptive as those in the competitive service. Unfortunately, this fact can also serve to reduce fair and open competition and advancement based solely on relative ability.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Social Security Regional Commissioner Responds to Nepotism Charge

Well, I wrote my Senator, Herb Kohl, and he contacted the Chicago Regional Commissioner, James Martin. Mr Martin sent me a letter in response to The Congressional inquiry. Not surprisingly, he states "I want to assure you that our recruitment methods fully comply with all Merit System principles". At the end of the paragraph he gets down to business telling me of all the different "hiring authorities" they have and says "Our managers determine which job announcements should be placed on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) public site:" (We already know that the answer is few if any at all).

In his second paragraph he discusses the position in LaCrosse filled by Ryan Kulinski, son of the Milwaukee Downtown Office manager. He explains how the aforementioned Federal Career Internship Program allows federal agencies to recruit "exceptional" candidates for a 2 year program of training and development assignments. I guess we should be comforted to know that most of the people hired by Social Security are so "exceptional". Certainly (in Mr. Martin's world)no average American off the street could be as "exceptional" as the friends and relatives of managers, so why let the average American know about these important jobs.

He goes on to mention that the managers of Social Security Offices go to "recruitment outreach events or activities" and develop by that method the pool of candidates from "members of the public". Going to job fairs excuses all questionable selections. Here is what really happens: The managers, wanting to get out of the office (why stay and manage), go to job fairs at colleges. They might even get a free lunch. Beforehand they tell the people whom they want to apply to go to the job fairs. They then take the resume's of the attendee's who want to be considered. They then toss those they have no interest in, and hire whomever they wish with no real oversight. That is democracy Mr. Martin style.

And so the nepotism and cronyism goes on. Agencies become more corrupted by this pernicious inbreeding and we all see service go down the toilet as favored government hires (exceptional in Martin's parlance)bask in their sixty thousand dollar a year jobs, while the average person's child, newly graduated, wonders why he or she can't get a job. Does Senator Kohl or any of our congressional representatives care enough to assure that any American can have a fair chance at employment in the Government? The answer, I fear, is probably not. At least we could save some of the taxpayers money by taking down the usajobs website, since it doesn't do what it purports to do.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The "Conscience Clause"

I want national health insurance. I want it so bad I would cut off my left arm to get it. I want everyone to have access to medically necessary health care without having to worry about going bankrupt. I want President Obama to work on this as a national priority, but today's news makes me fear this will never happen. You see, I am against abortion. I don't believe the government should mandate that doctors perform abortions, and in many states there are "conscience Clauses" that allow doctors morally opposed to abortion and fetal stem cell research to practice their life saving skills without having to endanger their immortal souls. President Bush, who said he was pro-life, waited until the end of his term to promulgate a conscience clause order. Now Obama intends to rescind it. The problem is that by taking that action he is amalgamating the enemies of free universal health care.

For centuries the church has been at the forefront of efforts to care for the sick. Note the names of so many hospitals: "Lutheran", "Saint Mary's", etc. These people and institutions of faith have put their money where their mouths are to bring health care to our nation. What will they do if they are mandated by federal law to perform abortions? That fear alone is enough to cause all people of faith to decide that, even though the need for universal health care is great, we cannot attain it at the cost of government dictates forcing violations of the sanctity of life. How many doctors does Obama want to drive out of the medical profession? Don't we have a shortage of health care professionals? What if all the church run hospitals and clinics close rather than accede to the dictates of the government? I beg you President Obama, don't do this. Work for what we really need. Work for free universal health care for the sake of the children, the old, the sick, and the poor and bankrupt. Do this as your legacy, but don't cripple the effort at the start by raising the specter of federal tyranny.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Social Security News: How Many Employees Will Social Security Hire And How Will They Be Hired?


I am vice president of Local 1346 of the American Federation of Government Employees. Although I retired from my job in September 2008, I was just re-elected for a new term. I am glad of this because I want to continue helping my union fight discrimination in the federal government. You would think that federal employment would be free of illegal discrimination, but you would be wrong. You would also think that since the public pays for the governments employees the process for getting a job would be open and above board. You would be wrong again.

Our union is trying to fight what I consider insidious nepotism and cronyism in the Social Security Agency's hiring, but I want to make it clear that any opinions expressed here are my own. Rather than follow established merit based hiring practices, Social Security is exploiting a loophole in the law called the Federal Career Intern Program (FCIP) to hire about two-thirds of all new employees, and guess what, lots of those hired are relatives, friends, and children of the managers. One manager hires another managers kid and promotes him quickly up the ladder. If this keeps up government jobs will be the "property" of a selected few families and friends. Under this "FCIP" program, managers don't have to make a public job announcement (so that any qualified and talented American can apply). They can find the job "candidates" any way they want, and they can hire them secretly and with no consideration of merit. Is this the American Way? Apparently the Management of Social Security Administration in Wisconsin and elsewhere thinks so. Here is a bit from a letter our national union president sent to the commissioner of Social Security:

"AFGE also received a number of reports from employees complaining that managers have used FCIP to hire their relatives, friends, neighbors, fellow church members, etc. Examples are the FCIP hire of Ryan Kulinski, son of Milwaukee Downtown District Manager Mark Kulinski or the FCIP hiring of Mark Fansler, nephew of Seattle Area Director Steve Dymale. Both Kulinski and Fansler were not only FCIP hires but they were quickly selected at the first opportunity to higher graded positions instead of highly qualified veteran employees who were not related to management."

No, the commissioner has not replied. I have been told that both Kulinski's are mad about this publicity, but you would expect that. If you don't think this is right, call or write the commissioner of Social Security, Michael Astrue to tell him what you think. If you live in Wisconsin, you can contact the Area Director, Robert Pagan, who has presided over this hiring binge and speaks approvingly of it as "Legacy Hiring".

At our recent semiannual union meeting several employees of Mr. Kuklinski's Milwaukee Downtown office came to express fear that their boss would retaliate against them for our president bringing his cozy little arrangement for family job security to a public forum. Mr. Kulinski also apparently sent an employee who is his buddy to the meeting to try to shout down our local president when she tried to explain that we are seeking fairness and equal opportunity in federal hiring. Several managers have apparently told their employees that they can forget seeing any of their friends or relatives hired if the union wants to make an issue of this. Don't all American citizens have a right to compete for government jobs, even relatives of current non-management employees? I think they do so long as all citizens have access to apply, and current employees do not try to influence the hiring process.

It is amazing what kind of trouble you can get into when you expose these kinds of things. I am retired, but not knowing the extent of the insider network in the federal government, I cannot say that I will not be targeted. There is no doubt that those still working are at risk if they oppose the illegal acts of others. If you doubt that the events I have just described are illegal you can look it up online at the website of the Federal Government's Office Of General Counsel: And so the fight goes on for truth, justice, and the American way.