My name is Patrick M McCormick and I have created this blog as a platform for my political views as well as those of select contributors.

I believe that American Politicians have lost sight of their goal: To uphold the Constitution and protect the rights of the people of the United States. They argue and bicker on the floor of their respective houses, positioning themselves for the next election, while they accomplish very little business for the citizens of this country.

Meanwhile our economy is sliding downward. Millions of our precious jobs have have been exported overseas. Our social safety net and other public services are being cut. Our middle class is rapidly disappearing and the numbers of citizens existing below the poverty line is increasing dramatically.

I plan to examine the causes of these terrible changes to our American way of life. Your comments will help us all arrive at some important conclusions.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Dreamer Among Us

Article first published as The Dreamer Among Us on Technorati.

By Patrick McCormick

The dreamer has walked along life’s path with us since we climbed down out of the trees and stepped out onto earth’s ancient plains. The dreamer gave us fire. We needed protection from the predators that stalked us. The dreamer gave us weapons made from stone. We became hunters and the dreamer gave us tools to cut and dress meat, turn hides into clothing and build shelter.

The dreamer allowed humanity to march into the modern age. Envisioning an easier life, the dreamer gave us industrialization, mechanization, medicine, agriculture and flight.

The dreamer created the means for man to change the environment of the planet. Selfish and lazy, without regard for our neighbors and the wild life that shares this planet with us, we have made changes to that environment that will threaten our very existence. We have to alter the direction our civilization is traveling; we have to change our ways. We do not have much time.

Our leaders seem to lack the imagination necessary to contemplate future problems and avoid them. There is danger everywhere we look; glaciers are melting, the sea is warming, the air polluted and toxins are in our food and water. We need to know which way to turn. We need a hero to save us; we need the Calvary to come riding over the hill once more.

We need that same dreamer that came down out of the trees with us so many years ago. Fortunately, the dreamer still walks among us. New dreams have been offered. Do we have the courage to follow those dreams?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

America’s War on Drugs; Would Surrender Be So Bad?

Commentary by
Patrick McCormick

Article first published as America's €™ War on Drugs; Would Surrender Be So Bad? on Technorati.

I have always felt the laws against smoking pot and sampling other drugs were unusually harsh. Drug use is a crime without a victim. I never understood how our government could interfere with my right to “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”. When did our government acquire the right to tell me what I can eat, drink or smoke? After all, I am not the property of the government.

I can legally jump out of an airplane, bungee jump, fight in the ring, race cars, or even work in a coal mine. Participation in all of those activities can lead to injury, illness or death. What makes “Getting high” so terrible?

I worked in a minor fundraising role for NORML in the late 70’s. The organization was making excellent progress at that time. Therapeutic Use Laws passed in 13 states and many others decriminalized the use and possession of small quantities of marijuana. Jimmy Carter had promised to legalize pot during his campaign. When he won the election, we all thought the battle was over. We were naive and quite mistaken.

President Carter immediately forgot about his campaign promises to all of the potheads. Only he knows why he did not keep them. Soon after the election, the NORML organization stumbled and then fell on hard times. Laws became harsh again. Making war on drugs became politically correct. The United States has been fighting that war for more than thirty years.

What have we won in those three decades? I will answer that for you. We have not won a single thing, nada, zip or zilch. We are losing the war and we have been for a long time.

During the course of the war, street gangs have risen to power and killed thousands; Hundreds of thousands have been jailed for drug possession and trafficking. Giant international cartels have appeared. State and federal governments have built hundreds of new jails and billions of dollars in precious resources squandered to prosecute and house offenders. What have our tax dollars purchased in all of that time? Nothing, we threw the money into a hole.

In 2001, the country of Portugal decided to go a different direction. They totally decriminalized all drugs; they admitted defeat and surrendered.

So what happened in Portugal? Did the sky fall? Did people throw a drug-crazed party and riot in the streets? Was there an uncontrolled rise in pregnancy, HIV, and sexual assault? No, none of these things happened. In fact, the opposite happened.

I have copied part of an article from “The Daily Beast’s Cheat Sheet” for you.
“Portugal's Drug Legalization Works
In 2001, Portugal legalized all criminal penalties for personal possession of drugs—including cocaine, heroin, and meth—and replaced drug sentences with offers of therapy. If that sounds a bit bleeding heart, well, it worked: In the five years following decriminalization, drug use among teenagers has dropped, as have HIV infections caused by dirty needles…”

Why can’t we try that here? What is standing in the way?

I can see several major obstacles; thousands of police, lawyers and Judges earn their incomes waging war on drugs and those convicted of drug crimes fill over 30% of jail cells in the United States. Housing drug related felons has become a big business. All of the individuals involved in waging the drug war have influence; donate to political campaigns and vote. In actuality, our government did not pour billions of dollars into a hole; our leaders paid it to hundreds of thousands of government employees.

Let’s assume we go ahead and legalize drugs. What could we gain? First, we would cut off the major source of revenue for street gangs and international drug cartels. Second, the ability of a drug user to obtain his, or her, substance legally and inexpensively would dramatically reduce the instances of muggings and other street crimes. We could also expect a decrease in sexually transmitted disease. Taxed, the various substances would provide revenue for our government instead of a multibillion-dollar annual expense.

Most substance abusers are not criminals. They may have psychological issues that ease them into drug dependency. They may be out of work and bored or they may simply be recreational users looking for some fun on the weekend. Most drug related crime, at least crimes by addicted users, are committed while attempting to generate the funds needed for illegal overpriced drugs. Legally produced drugs would be pure, quality control would be constant and the price would be much lower. The criminal element increases the costs dramatically. Removing those criminals would dramatically change the way people use drugs and clean up the streets of our country at the same time.

It is an old argument, but in these difficult financial times, perhaps it’s worth looking at once more. The course we have been taking has been expensive, wasteful and fruitless. It’s time for a change in strategy; why not join the Portuguese and surrender along with them?

Monday, September 27, 2010

In Politics; Is Your Voice Actually Heard?

Article first published as In Politics, Is Your Voice Actually Heard? on Technorati.

By Patrick McCormick

You care about America. You think of yourself as a good citizen and have strong feelings of association with one political party. You relate to their message. In your heart, you know the changes they want to make are the right changes. You donate money to your party and may even actively campaign; canvass or pick up a sign and wave it at a busy local intersection.

It is important for you to do this; you are a part of the political process. You want to help your party “Save the World”.

Up to this point, we have been discussing your feelings, your beliefs and your stand on the issues, there is another side to the political coin. What does your candidate want? What are his or her beliefs? Where are your candidate’s loyalties? Will they keep their campaign promises to you?

In order to mount a successful political campaign, a candidate must raise huge sums of money for media advertisements. Candidates obtain these sums from large corporations, special interests and even foreign governments. What must a candidate do for this money? It is a fair assumption your candidate promises something that each contributor wants, loyalty on issues important to each donor. To put it simply, campaign contributors want votes.

By the time Election Day arrives, your candidate has made many promises. Not only do they make promises to you, the voter, they make them to their donors as well. Is your candidate honorable? Will he or she represent you as promised? Do promises made to you or the donors ever come into conflict? How will your candidate vote in the event of a conflict; will they represent you or the campaign donor? In the entire political process, how they vote in the event of such conflict is the most important question you can ask.

Ask all you want, our elected officials have passed legislation that allows corporate and special interest donors to keep the amount of their donations for media advertisements secret. You cannot even determine who is giving what to whom. For instance, a foreign government can donate funds to your candidate through a third party organization and you, the voter, cannot obtain that information.

All candidates promise transparency these days. Promises, promises; the minority party recently blocked legislation to make some positive changes in campaign financing with a filibuster. The majority does not seem to be fighting as fervently as they should.

Will the day come when concerned American citizens can obtain accurate information about the sources of funding of their favorite son’s political campaigns? The ability of the voters to verify the integrity of our office holders is at stake. We need to have this information.

It will never happen unless you demand it!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Top Economists Announce, “Recession is Over”. I Say, "Give Me Some of What They're Smoking"

Commentary by
Patrick McCormick

The statement from “Top” economists that the recession officially ended in June of 2009, got me to put my “Thinking cap” on. I remembered the old adage, “If you tell a lie often enough, people will begin to accept it as the truth”. What is the truth about our economy?

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), recession is defined as "a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real gross domestic product (GDP), real income, employment, industrial production and wholesale-retail sales". More specifically, recession is defined as when businesses cease to expand, the GDP diminishes for two consecutive quarters, the rate of unemployment rises and housing prices decline.

Well… according to government figures, there has been a slight rise in the GDP in the past two quarters. I think the claim that the “Recession” has ended is based on that. Still, I have not seen a lot of positive change.

My analogy would be, “Say you had fallen into a real deep hole and could not get out, then someone threw down a brick for you to stand on. You would be a little closer to the top, but would still be in a real deep hole and unable to climb out.” That is where the American economy is. Way too many people are out of work. Millions are earning less. Interest on our foreign debt is huge. We are definitely still standing in a hole.

It reminds me of the ending of the fairy tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. Ripped off by a con man, the Emperor was strutting around naked. Nobody had the courage to tell him the truth.

Today’s economy is shot, it’s an election year. The party in power wants, with all their hearts for this recession to go away. Some “Top Economists” announce, “The recession is over everyone, you can start spending now".

From the edge of the happy crowd, I can hear a small child shout, “Look mommy, the Emperor is naked. Where are his clothes”?

Here is the article I was referring to.

Recession not over, public says

By Alan Silverleib, CNN
September 26, 2010 12:02 p.m. EDT

Seventy-four percent of Americans believe the economy is still in a recession.

Washington (CNN) -- Economic experts may believe the recession is over, but try telling that to the public.

Seventy-four percent of Americans believe the economy is still in a recession, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll. Only 25 percent think the downturn is over.

One-third of Americans say the recession is serious, while another 29 percent characterize it as moderate.

One small cause for optimism: the percentage of Americans who say the country is in a recession has dropped 13 points since August.

The National Bureau of Economic Research, an independent group of economists, released a September 20 statement indicating the recession technically ended in June 2009. The dip began in December 2007 -- making it the longest and deepest downturn for the U.S. economy since the Great Depression.

Administration officials, while sounding guardedly optimistic about overall trends, have repeatedly expressed concern for those impacted by the sluggish economy.

"Obviously, for the millions of people who are still out of work, people who have seen their home values decline, people who are struggling to pay the bills day to day, [the recession is] still very real for them," President Barack Obama said last week.

The public appears split over the effectiveness of Obama's economic policies. Forty-seven percent of Americans believe the president's policies either have helped boost the economy or will make it better in the future. Forty-eight percent believe Obama's policies will never help improve the economy.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted September 21-23, with 1,010 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

CNN's Keating Holland and Chris Isidore contributed to this report.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The People are Losing Confidence in Their Government…...Really !

Commentary by
Patrick McCormick

I was reading some commentary in the Washington Post about Democrats losing confidence in their government..I had to laugh. Of course the people are losing confidence in the Democrats, the Republicans too. For all of the money taxpayers pay them to handle the affairs of state...very little has been done.

A leader must earn the confidence of his, or her, people. It is extremely difficult to have confidence in a government that has spent the last two years arguing politics and trading insults while those people are suffering. Many citizens have lost jobs or are earning less and waiting for leaders to keep their campaign promises. Promised chicken in their pots, they have no reason to remain loyal while their pots are still empty.

"Why our leaders have not come to the bargaining table to do something constructive", is a question that most of US are asking. It is apparent they all care more about their own reelections than they care about the citizens of this Republic.

The people understand that they would not lose much if they voted all incumbents out of office. After all, what good is an experienced Senator or member of the House of Representatives if they do not put that knowledge and experience to work for the people?

Read the Post article. If you still have a job, you might get a little laugh yourself.

Even Dems are fast losing confidence in gov't

A Gallup poll out today sheds some new light on all the talk about the "enthusiasm gap": It finds that confidence in the legislative branch has dropped most precipitiously among Democrats.
The poll's toplines are worrisome enough for Dems: Confidence in the legislative branch is at a record low of 36 percent. That's yet another sign of all the anti-incumbent sentiment we keep hearing about. But, even more ominously for Dems, this drop is driven almost entirely by Democratic voters:

As you can see, confidence in the legislative branch has dropped an astonishing 14 points among Dems since last year, to a bare majority of 51 percent.. By contrast the drop in confidence among Republicans and independents is minimal, since it was much lower to begin with.

There are a whole bunch of possible causes for this. Maybe the strategy of GOP obstructionism is working brilliantly: The inability of Dem leaders to prevail, and the resulting sense of government dysfunction, is deflating Dem confidence. Maybe it's the economy -- though it's unclear why that would disproportionately impact Dems.

Or maybe this is more evidence of a much-remarked-upon phenomenon: Dem euphoria upon taking control of the whole government was so high that a steep fall was inevitable. Whatever the cause, this really drives home, again, the folly of the Dem decision to punt on the middle class tax cuts vote. Simply put, rank and file Dems need to have their confidence restored -- and fast.

Yes, I know, it isn't fair that Dems have lost confidence. The Dem Congress has already passed a whole bunch of wonderful things, and every time they fail it's the fault of mean and nasty Republicans. Still: repeating that argument again and again just isn't going to cut it.

Needless to say, taking a stand on something difficult, laying down a marker and fighting for it, even if it results in a loss, is certainly more likely to restore confidence than dithering, equivocating, handwringing about procedure, and basically throwing up your hands and saying, "No we can't." After all, time is hardly on Dems' side here. They can hardly afford to squander any opportunities.
By Greg Sargent | September 24, 2010; 2:20 PM ET

The GOP and “The Fruit of the Tree”

By Patrick McCormick

President Obama stated publicly that campaign financing could lead to a “Corporate Takeover of America”. His argument was a chilling warning for any Constitutional Patriot to hear. His speech made a lot of sense and carried the “Ring of Liberty” in its message. It was a warning all Americans, regardless of political affiliation, should heed.

American citizens have the right to know who is funding their candidates. If an elected official votes for a cause or an issue simply because some corporation, special interest group or foreign government wants that vote, that official is selling out his own constituency as well as the people of the United States. It is my opinion, “Trading votes for cash is a criminal act and should be regarded as one”.

As the situation exists today, voters are unable to tell where a candidates funding comes from or how much any donor gave. With that information, voters could check on the voting record of his or her particular representatives and determine for themselves if their congressional representative or senator was voting for the people or the special interests. It is important information for all citizens to possess.

The GOP’s new Pledge seems to indicate a promise to represent the People and their Constitution. However, they just blocked the Democrats from passing a Bill that would make campaign contributions more transparent and put limitations on the amounts of donations.

Regardless of your religious beliefs, Jesus Christ warned about false prophets in his “Sermon on the Mount”. That wisdom, if applied to any of life’s encounters, will lead to the truth. Christ stated that you could tell someone’s true intentions by examining their deeds and not heading their words.

Apply this wisdom to the GOP’s new Pledge and compare the stated intentions in that document against the filibuster to block transparency in campaign funding. It becomes apparent what our republican politicians want and whom they really work for; it is not US.

I have included part of President Obama’s speech on the threat of corporate campaign contributions as well as today’s Washington Post article. Think about it.

Published: Aug. 21, 2010 at 6:01 AM WASHINGTON, Aug. 20 (UPI)

U.S. President Barack Obama Saturday warned of a "corporate takeover" of democracy and said Republicans want the public kept "in the dark" on campaign funding.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, the Democratic president found fault with a Supreme Court ruling that permits corporations, unions and other organizations to spend "unlimited amounts of money to influence our elections."

"They can buy millions of dollars worth of TV ads -- and worst of all, they don't even have to reveal who is actually paying for them," he said.

"A group can hide behind a phony name like 'Citizens for a Better Future,' even if a more accurate name would be 'Corporations for Weaker Oversight.'"

He blamed GOP leaders for killing legislation this summer that would require "corporate political advertisers to reveal who's funding their activities."
(The remained of this article is listed on Aug 21 on this blog)

Today in the Washington Post:

Senate Democrats again fail to pass campaign disclosure law

By Dan Eggen Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 23, 2010; 11:10 PM

Senate Democrats failed again Thursday in their attempt to require corporations, unions and other interest groups to provide more details about their political spending.

The measure, known as the Disclose Act, fell one vote short of the 60 needed to break a GOP filibuster in the divided Senate, with Republicans uniformly opposed to the bill. The legislation had also been blocked by Senate Republicans during an earlier vote in July.

The 59-39 vote marks a bitter defeat for Democratic leaders and President Obama, who has repeatedly urged Congress to pass the bill in response to a Supreme Court ruling lifting restrictions on corporate and union political spending.

The outcome represents a major victory for Republicans and major business groups, which lobbied hard against a proposal that they said was an attempt by Democrats to silence GOP-leaning business groups.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) called the proposal a "cynical, partisan bill designed to silence the free speech of Congress's critics and to protect Democrat incumbents."

Proponents argued that voters deserve to know the identities of donors bankrolling outside advertising that has played an increasingly pivotal role in U.S. elections. Under the bill defeated Thursday, corporations and most interest groups would have been subject to stricter financial disclosure requirements.
The measure also would have broadened restrictions on foreign-controlled companies and required heads of companies and interest groups to appear on camera during their political spots.

Democratic leaders expressed frustration Thursday at the unwillingness of GOP moderates, such as Maine Sens. Susan Collins (R) or Olympia Snowe (R), to allow the measure to move forward. Democratic leaders had signaled a willingness to debate changes to the legislation, including delaying its implementation until January.

"Republicans continue to block the Senate from even debating common-sense oversight to bring transparency to our campaign finance laws," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement. "The outcome of today's vote shows the difference between Democrats who believe voters should be in control of our elections and Republicans who want to allow big corporations to buy their outcomes behind closed doors."

Interest groups and political parties have reported $87 million in independent spending so far in this election cycle, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

Democratic aides had acknowledged even before Thursday's vote that they were unlikely to get any Republicans to break ranks with their party. But several aides said they were hopeful the defeat would provide benefits by allowing Democrats to tie the GOP to corporate interests ahead of the midterm elections.
The legislation, which passed the House in a different form earlier this year, was drafted as a response to the 5 to 4 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The court found that corporations had the same rights as individuals to engage in political speech and could therefore spend as much as they wanted for or against specific candidates.

Obama pointedly criticized the ruling during his State of the Union address, prompting an unusual public objection weeks later by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. The president and other White House aides have continued to focus on the decision as opening the door to abuses by corporations and had made passage of the Disclose Act a top legislative priority.

In his weekly radio address last Saturday, for example, Obama blasted Republicans for opposing the bill. "A partisan minority in Congress is hoping their defense of these special interests and the status quo will be rewarded with a flood of negative ads against their opponents," Obama said. "It's a power grab, pure and simple."

Despite the Disclose Act defeat, activists in favor of changing campaign finance rules celebrated a small victory in the House on Thursday: The Committee on House Administration passed the Fair Elections Now Act, which would allow candidates to receive 4-to-1 matching funds culled from broadcasting license fees by agreeing to limit themselves to donations of $100 or less. The fate of the bill remains unclear, however.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The GOP Pledge… an Empty Taco…"Where’s the Beef" ?

Commentary by
Patrick McCormick

Talk about being out of touch with the people, I was expecting to read some kind of plan. After two years criticizing the President and blocking legislation, there are some crucial elements missing from the “Pledge”.

How will the Grand Old Party stimulate the creation of Jobs? Is it their plan to simply extend Bush era Tax Incentives for businesses and the wealthy? What is the cost of that going to be?

How are we going to pay back the monstrous debit rung up by the Bush and Obama administrations? New Jobs, the kind that make things and pay federal income taxes are what the America needs to help get its “Bottom Line” back into the black.

What is the GOP plan to reduce the trillions of dollars worth of overseas debit created by the tremendous “Imbalance of Trade”? If we continue going down the same road as before, we will come to a place called “Financial Ruin”.

The GOP plan wants to stop funding abortions. That is a direct appeal for votes from the religious right, but will not save much cash or create jobs.

The “Pledge” does not address the environment, are we just going to ignore environmental problems until times get better? We have done that since humanity started burning coal. Why not stimulate the production of “Green Technology” and “Renewable Sources of Energy” to create some new jobs.

After two years of denouncing legislation proposed by their Democratic opposition, it would be fair to assume our minority leaders had some actual plans, some new ideas, some “Beef”; obviously, they do not.

I am as fed up with our stagnant economy as any American citizen. I am willing to vote for anyone with an agenda designed to get US out of this hole. Will that person please stand up.

To Watch "Where's the Beef" commercial go to sidebar >>>>

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Tea Party and “The Art of War”

Commentary by
Patrick McCormick

An article appeared in the Washington Post today titled;

“The tea party, Wikipedia and al-Qaeda: shared leadership lessons?"

The Post article speaks of reasons the Tea Party could have achieved their recent successes without formal leadership. It made me stop and think for a moment, “How could an organization without a leader win a string of victories”. The question poses an enigma.

Politics is similar to warfare. The success or failure of any political campaign is subject to the same criteria as a military campaign. Strategy and tactics, intelligence, terrain, the strength and weaknesses of your opponent are all important factors in the pursuit of military victory. The rules of war hold true for politics.

History teaches that it is possible to win many battles and still lose the war. A good overall strategy is necessary if a nation desires to achieve battlefield successes and defeat an opponent. What purpose would it serve to mount a large campaign without a plan to win the endgame?

Can the Tea Party actually be a “Ship without a rudder”, and win their war? According to the greatest military mind of all times, the answer is “No”.

Sun Tzu commanded armies around 600 BC. Successful battlefield commanders and business executives still study his writings today. Following his principles of warfare, many great leaders have vanquished their opponents. Ignoring them has led hundreds of ill-prepared commanders down the road to defeat and humiliation.

I suspect that somewhere there is a single intelligence behind current Tea Party Successes. Deception is another key to Sun Tzu’s formula for supremacy in warfare. He said, “All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.

He expanded this philosophy by advising, “Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent's fate.”

When I study the movements and successes of the Tea Party, I see evidence of intelligent direction and unified strategy. I suppose that we will have to wait a while longer to see if I am right or wrong. If the Tea Party really is a ship without a captain, it will sail aimlessly until it founders in some future storm or crashes onto some rocky shore.

If I am correct in my assumption, establishment politicians are dealing with a great field commander. Tea Party candidates may lose a battle here and there, but a brilliant general will win the war for them. I see evidence the tide is turning in that direction.

The Washington Post article follows.

"The tea party, Wikipedia and al-Qaeda: shared leadership lessons?"

Q: Has the recent success of the Tea Party come because of, or in spite of, the movement's lack of a formal leadership structure? Along with Wikipedia, open-source software and organizations like, is this another example of the power of distributed leadership?

It's interesting that the two organizations that best exemplify "distributed leadership" (or at least get the most attention for making use of it) are the Tea Party and al-Qaeda. Both illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of this approach to leadership.

On the positive side, having no one leader at the top empowers many more people and fosters more creativity than traditionally hierarchical organizations can muster. This can result in a more diverse set of strategies ("laboratories of the states," if you will) and infuse more energy into a movement than would otherwise be the case. It can also make it more difficult for opponents, enemies or business competitors to mount a counter-strategy, since there may be no one strategy to counter.

At the same time, distributed leadership poses a host of challenges that must be overcome. "Subsidiaries," "factions" or "chapters" in different states or countries can work at cross-purposes with one another, create confusion about mission that can frustrate or drive away members and/or potential enlistees, duplicate efforts and suffer from lack of scale (in fundraising, for instance).

If you're Wikipedia and trying to provide free information to people, these liabilities are one thing and may not be fatal. It's quite another to be aspiring to revolutionize politics (Tea Party) or overthrow a secular, Western democratic model of governing (al-Qaeda). I like Wikipedia's chances much more.

SEPTEMBER 21, 2010; 5:15 PM ET

Monday, September 20, 2010

Politics… is it a Game or a “Shell Game”?

Commentary by
Patrick McCormick

An important election is coming this November. How does the average American know where to cast their vote? Determining the answer to that question may be more difficult then figuring out which shell hides the proverbial pea.

People select “Their” candidate for many reasons; they like their looks, they like their position on certain issues, they may simply align themselves with the political party their candidate represents. Once a voter “Locks onto” a candidate, anything is possible. He, or she, will argue that candidate’s worth with friends and strangers alike. Perhaps they will actively campaign, take a sign with a catchy slogan out to a busy intersection and jump up and down for passing automobiles. They may even donate their hard-earned cash.

Here’s the rub; candidates choose their position on the issues carefully. None of them want to have the same agenda as the other candidates. It is important for them to offer a clear choice for the voters, you and me, US. So, they hire a group of consultants to create, and maintain, their “Public Image”. I suspect these consultants even help them determine whether or not to dye their hair, get a Botox treatment or a quick nip and tuck. Above all things, a candidate has to appeal the voters.

While the consultants in the back room are working on the image factor, which includes campaign promises for the voters, the candidate is out raising campaign funds. Most of the necessary cash comes from large corporate donors and other special interest groups. These organizations do not give something for nothing. They get support on issues relevant to their continued operation or objectives. This support comes in the form of votes. It takes a lot of money to run an effective campaign. A candidate has to make a lot of promises to their donors in order to raise what’s needed. Do those promises conflict with the promises made to the voters? It would be necessary to match the candidates voting record after he/she takes office with their campaign promises and then match the same record to the goals of the special interests. . Although this would seem to be very important, I suspect “Most voters never look”.

Look back at all of the elections you can remember. How may campaign promises were actually kept winners of those elections. I would be willing to bet you that the answer is a very low number.

President Bush promised physical austerity and smaller government. He invaded two countries and allowed the banks to sell millions of mortgages to unqualified individuals. His administration inherited a virtually debt free government from President Clinton and left us wallowing in trillions of dollars worth of debt.

President Obama promised to reduce our debt, give US a cleaner government, create jobs, stimulate renewable energy, work on environmental issues and provide fair health insurance for all. His batting average is a poor one.

Look at the Tea Party. They promise to Support Fiscal Responsibility, Limited Government, A Free Market, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights as explained in the Federalist Papers. They believe the observance by the government of those core values is critical to the security and personal and economic liberties of all U.S. citizens.

What appears to lead and inspire participants involved in the American Tea Party Movement is the concept that "there exists an inherent benefit to our country when private property and prosperity are secured by natural law and the rights of the individual."

On the surface, the Tea Party looks promising. However, their candidates have to raise a lot of money, just like the other guys. They get their campaign cash the same way the other guys do. They make promises to the same organizations the other guys do. They can’t possibly keep any more of their promises than the other guys do. If Tea Party Candidates were truly out to reform our government processes, a great place to start would be to completely reveal their sources of campaign finances; make them totally transparent. I doubt that any Tea Party Candidate would do this.

I would have to say the same for the old guard Republicans or the Democrats. Most of them are promising “Transparency in government”. I say, “Lay it on the line and show US where your funding is coming from”. My common sense tells me, “Any politician that refuses to make their funding transparent is playing the “Shell Game” with US”.

Politics is much more complicated than the picture I have painted here. There are many more factors involved in the election process and the effectiveness of Political Office Holders than I have mentioned. Politics is a complicated game.

What I wanted to point out is that all candidates make campaign promises to the voters. All candidates have to raise campaign funds for which they make more promises to special interest groups. Once in office, the newly elected have obligations to both groups. Which of the promises are they most likely to keep; who knows. We could track that after the election if we knew how much money they raised and where it came from. Unfortunately, that is an impossible task because our office holders passed laws allowing the concealment of those facts from US. That means a voter cannot actually check on his, or her, candidate and determine if they were working to represent them or the special interest groups that funded their campaigns.

As I inferred in the beginning, “It’s a Shell Game”. All politicians make great campaign promises. In an actual Shell Game, your chances of selecting the shell that covers the pea are slim. Your chances of voting for a candidate that will keep all of their campaign promises are equally slim.

That’s politics folks, part of the game is to figure out the ending.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

NASA Space Program; Two Steps Forward, One Step Back .

Commentary by
Patrick McCormick

Is the United States willingly taking a “Second Seat” in space exploration? We had a good thing going with our Space Shuttle. It was far ahead of anything else the other nations had to offer. There was a time we could have done anything we wanted out there.

Think of the technological advancements in medicine, astronomy, computer technology and metallurgy, to name a few, the Space Program brought to US. Think about Japan, China and India providing them for US now. We gave the world the fruit of our technological advancements. Does anyone believe the world will be as generous to US?

We did not fund the Space Program for national pride alone. It was big business. It gave US a big business advantage over the rest of the world. Financially, is it a good idea to abandon our lead now? How much would it really cost US to refurbish a pair of our old shuttles?

A couple of adventurous wars in the Middle East and a severe recession and we no longer have the financial means to carry the torch. Is it wise to "Throw in the towel" and let the Russian, Diving Bell shaped, Space Taxi” ferry us to the space station at 35 million per seat. That antique still lands with a parachute.

The Boeing CST-100, Follow Link, is another “Diving Bell”. The glory days of our magnificent Space Shuttles are gone. I would like to see the Boeing device carry a replacement for the Hubble telescope or use its hydraulic arm to swing a new segment for the International Space Station into place; it does not have one.

The thoughts of all of the brave men and women that led US into space, and the risks they willingly shouldered for our nation, brings a tear to my eye. I feel anger building when I dwell on the political follies of the past ten years and some of the things we have lost because of them. The Space Program was not a waste of money; we flew with it into this technological age.

Read the following article in shame.

Spacecraft Could Carry Seven People and Fly in Low-Earth Orbit

XCOR Aerospace joins the space tourism game with competitive pricing.

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Boeing Co plans to offer passengers the chance to fly into space on a craft it is developing for travel in low-Earth orbit, the aerospace company said on Wednesday.

Boeing said it reached an agreement with Virginia-based Space Adventures to market passenger seats on commercial flights aboard Boeing's CST-100 space vehicle being developed for NASA.

The spacecraft could carry seven people and fly in low-Earth orbit as soon as 2015, Boeing said. The company added that potential customers could include private individuals, companies, nongovernmental organizations and U.S. federal agencies.

Space Adventures said it had arranged for seven spaceflight participants to fly on eight missions to the International Space Station being built in space by the United States and Russia.

The companies said during a conference call that pricing for the planned space flights had not been set but were expected to be competitive.

Guy Laliberte, founder of Canada's Cirque du Soleil, paid more than $35 million to travel into space last year on a Russian spaceship from Kazakhstan.

The U.S. space shuttle program, which carries astronauts and supplies to the International Space Space, is being shut down next year. President Barack Obama's administration has launched an initiative to replace NASA-owned and operated launch services with commercial space taxis.

Until a replacement vehicle is ready, the United States will be solely dependent on Russia to fly crews to the International Space Station, a $100 billion project involving 16 nations, which has been under construction 220 miles above Earth since 1998.

Russia currently charges NASA about $51 million per seat for a ride on its Soyuz spacecraft. The price goes up to $56 million in 2013.
(Reporting by Karen Jacobs; Editing by Peter Cooney and Bill Trott)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

“Holy Smokes Batman”, the Air Force is Ripping Our Gear !

It appears that the United States Air Force is going to copy all the slick gear in the “Bat Belt”. The question is, “Will the US Military stop there”. One service always copies the other. I believe the “Bat Plane, Bat Boat, Bat Copter, Bat Cycle and even the Bat Cave” are at risk. Yes, even the cave… I can see Air Force one, painted a slick stealthy black, parked in the cave beneath Wayne Mansion.

The “Bat Light” high in the night sky will signal the Alpha Force to lock and load. Watch the night skies Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a real life *Kapow!* is heading your way; not that you will ever see it coming.

“Holy Cow Batman!”, read the story from ABC News.

'Batman' Prepares To Join the Air Force
Special Operators to Act -- and Dress -- More Like Batman

Sept. 18, 2010

Grappling hooks attached to siphon electricity from low-hanging power lines. Computers mounted onto a commando's chest plate. Communications gadgets small enough to fit into gear pouches worn around the waist. The Air Force is actually preparing its special operators to act (and outfit themselves) more like the Batman.

Since 2004, the Air Force has worked to reduce the physical load of gear carried by its Special Operations Forces — the superheroes who seize hostile airfields and rescue captured troops behind enemy lines. Those airmen are often weighed down on these missions, lugging as much as 160 pounds worth of stuff.

Since much of the bulk comes from their communications gear, the Air Force opted to cut out heavy batteries to power it, fueling the gear through methanol fuel cells that get lighter as the charge dies. That allows elite airmen to essentially wear their gear like a scaffold, a concept the Air Force calls a "Human Chassis."

Except a human chassis isn't a cool enough name.* So the program, pursued at Ohio's Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, bears a moniker that strikes fear into the heart of villains everywhere. It's the Battlefield Air Targeting Man-Aided kNowledge (just go with it). Yes: the BATMAN.

BATMAN Program Comes With Bat Hook

Adam Hadhazy of Tech News Daily has a great piece reporting on the program from inside Wright-Pat's, uh, Batcave. He finds that the BATMAN program rolls with its character concept with astonishing consistency. There may not be a rubber-nipple-equipped Batsuit, nor a trusty butler.

In fact, the prototype Air Force outfit used to test out the gear is more garage nightmare than Hollywood blockbuster. But BATMAN does come equipped with a Bat Hook: a grappling hook that special operators can throw onto power lines in order to charge up their battery-powered communications equipment.

According to a program engineer, the Bat Hook came about after a special operator observed that it would be "really cool" to design "'Something like what Batman has on his belt that he can take out and wing it up to a power line and get power,'" he tells Hadhazy. Bob Kane could not have said it better.

Chest Computer Is Laptop Embedded Into a Chest Plate
Then there's the on-board chest computer, a laptop that relays logistical information and fits right into the chest plate. One imagines the next-gen BATMAN will use a tablet instead, as the program is already at work on a 2.0 version.

Iranian Missile Worries Pentagon

Hadhazy reports that one of the next projects for the design team is to go wireless, replacing cumbersome cables connecting the commo gizmos to airmen's rucksacks with secure frequencies. The wires are Adam West; secure wi-fi is Christian Bale.

Of course, if fearsome communications equipment is the direction in which the Air Force is trending, ironclad comic-book history suggests that the real next step is for the BATMAN program to invent the all-seeing Brother-Eye, an artificial intelligence mounted in a satellite orbiting earth. (Only to watch it spiral out of control, sure, but we can cross that bridge when we come to it.) Until then, we'll settle for elite airmen embracing their superhero status.

* This is a matter of some dispute. Attentive fans of the first Terminator film will recall that Cyberdyne Systems Model T-101 gets described by time-traveling soldier Kyle Reese as a metal chassis covered in organic tissue. That means a plausible alternative template for the BATMAN program would be the TERMINATOR — It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. It absolutely will not stop, ever! Until you are dead! — provided someone could figure out what the acronym might stand for. Anyone want to take a crack at that in comments?

Friday, September 17, 2010

The USA… 14% of US are Below the Poverty Line… What Happened?

Commentary by
Patrick McCormick

This kind of poverty did not happen overnight, it crept up on US slowly, over many years. How, you might ask, we had everything? While we were sleeping, our Country’s lifeblood was sold for campaign contributions to major corporations and foreign interests, “One vote at a time”.

It reminds me of the old Johnny Cash song. ” I’ve got a 56, 57, 58, 59 Chevrolet. I got it one piece at a time”. The song is about a “Good old boy” that got a job in a General Motors plant and began stealing car parts. Over the years, he built himself a car. It might have been an awful looking thing, but it was the product of many years continuous effort on the part of a small time crook.

The same thing has happened to US. We elect other human beings to political office in order to maintain our nations welfare. The jobs they receive are important ones; prestige, power and influence come with the territory. It is reasonable to assume those elected want to stay in their new positions, and they do. The problem is this, it costs a lot of money to campaign for political office; much more than the office holders are paid for their new jobs. They have to raise that money somehow.

The good news for them is there are many large corporations and foreign interests standing in line to give them that cash. These “Special interests” don’t give away money because they like each fellow’s politics, they pay the money because they get something in return. What they are buying are votes. The process has a name; influence peddling. It is a dirty business.

Influence peddling is the means by which the coal industry was allowed to pollute our air and water. Today there are methods of generating renewable energy from other sources, the sun and wind to name two of them. The old fossil fuel companies, coal and oil, do not want any new competition. They donate huge sums to office holders and, to cover their bets, even those running for office get some cash. Nobody in their right mind gives away money and these old fossils are not doing that. They get something in return.

A coal-fired power plant receives tax breaks and subsidies for their operations. These benefits allow them to operate much more inexpensively then a new Thermal Solar or Wind operation. The new, clean and environmental friendly methods of generating electricity cannot compete with the old fossils. Although our leaders say it is time to stimulate the production of electricity by renewable means, it is not happening.

Energy production is just one area. There are thousands of Special Interests waiting to donate money to our politicians. They all want something in return. They want votes in their particular favor on a myriad of subjects. They can buy what they want. The USA is for sale, not by US the People that own it, by those that we hire to manage our affairs… our elected officials.

We never used to manufacture many of our goods in foreign countries. Our large corporations wanted to get at those sources of cheap labor. New Trade Agreements sprang up. Most of these Treaties are one-sided affairs allowing for an enormous imbalance of trade.

With the new treaties, our major corporations began shipping American jobs out of the country. We got thousands of different inexpensive products in return. Because of the imbalance of trade, we also began piling up huge foreign debt. Oddly enough, the large corporations, or foreign countries, that profit, are not paying for the interest on this debt; WE, The People, American taxpayers, are paying the bills.

Therefore, in order to satisfy big business, our country endured a steady stream of lost jobs and absorbed trillions of dollars in foreign debt. Neither one of these things make our country stronger, in fact they are sucking the lifeblood from our economy.

Our government pays its bills with tax revenue. With less people working, there is less tax revenue. Our government's revenue is going down hill while its debts are rising. It is a formula that will led to bankruptcy. Something has to change.

An old joke went; Politics is a two-syllable word comprised of poli and tics. Poly means many and tics are bloodsuckers. The joke would get a lot of laughs. Somehow, it does not seem so funny today.

There are two groups of people with the ability to fix our problems; politicians and voters. There is not a lot of interest supporting campaign finance reform in Congress. That leaves it up to US, the voters.

The future is in our hands.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Your Cell Phone... As You Speak... So Shall it be Charged

Human speech is often referred to as "Hot Air", but can it really charge your cell phone?

This article reminds me of the crows in the Disney cartoon “Dumbo”; Voicing their skepticism about a flying elephant in song.

“I seen a peanut stand
And heard a rubber band
I seen a needle that winked its eye

But I've been, done, seen about everything
When I see a elephant fly”

It sounds too good to be true and I have learned that things that do usually are.

A phone charged by conversations on it would really be something… if it works. Coming out of Korea, I think it is completely acceptable to question the validity of the announcement.

It would be helpful if some of you techie types checked it out for me.

Cell Phones Powered by Conversation?

New Technology Converts Sound to Energy

Sept 16, 2010

Discovery News

Chatty teenagers could be the world's next renewable energy source.

Scientists from Korea have turned the main ingredient of calamine lotion into a tiny material that converts sound waves into electricity. The research could lead to panels that can charge a cell phone from a conversation or provide a boost of energy to the nation's electrical grid generated by the noise during rush hour traffic.

"Just as speakers transform electric signals into sound, the opposite process -- of turning sound into a source of electrical power -- is possible," said Young Jun Park and Sang-Woo Kim, the two corresponding authors of a new article in the journal Advanced Materials.

Sound power can be used for various novel applications including mobile phones that can be charged during conversations and sound-insulating walls near highways that generate electricity from the sound of passing vehicles," the co-authors added.

Harvesting energy from phone calls and passing cars is based on materials known as piezoelectrics. When bent, a piezoelectric material turns that mechanical energy into electricity.

Lots of materials are piezoelectric: cane sugar, quartz and even dried bone creates an electrical charge when stressed. For decades, scientists have pumped electricity into piezoelectric materials for use in environmental sensors, speakers and other devices.

The Korean scientists, however, want to harness a different kind of power source: sound waves.

The Fox, The Hen House and Campaign Contributions

Patrick McCormick

We the People have some Foxy Political leaders. They strut and dance and do their stuff in order to entice you to vote for them. There is nothing in the world they will not promise for those votes; votes are the keys to the Hen house.

What those Foxy devils are after is not eggs or chicken, its money, cold hard cash and lots of it. They get it from large corporations, foreign and domestic. They also get some cash from foreign governments. This cash flows into their pockets from many convoluted third party sources. Foxy was clever enough to pass legislation that allowed the practice and protected those sources from inquisitive eyes.

Because of this practice, Foxy spends most of the day sniffing around his buddies, the large fat cat contributors, and does very little for US, the people of the United States.

This could be a nice little story; it is not one. Uncontrolled Campaign Contributions are a very serious matter. They threaten the existence of “A Government of the People, by the People and for the People”. This Republic could very easily “Perish from this Earth” if the practice is allowed to continue.

I have enclosed an article from the Washington Post… Read it, Think about it, Do something about it.

Despite Supreme Court support, disclosure of funding for 'issue ads' has decreased

Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 15, 2010; 11:38 PM

A Supreme Court decision this year dramatically altered the regulation of money in politics, and a recent vote by the Federal Election Commission could change one area of the law that the court left intact: rules governing disclosure of the sources of campaign money.

A key provision of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law curbed so-called issue ads, which avoid spending restrictions by focusing on a candidate's position instead of the election - an often subtle distinction.

The Supreme Court has whittled away at the statute, saying it infringes on free speech. But eight of the nine justices have expressed their support for the part of the law that requires disclosing sources of money for issue ads.

Despite the court's enthusiasm, there has been less and less disclosure of donors in recent years. In the 2004 election, when the law went into effect, 71 percent of the disclosure forms for issue ads listed the sources of money. So far this year, only 15 percent of the disclosures have listed a source.

The drop is partly due to a change in the regulations in 2007 following the Supreme Court's decision in Wisconsin Right to Life v. FEC, which allowed corporate and union funding for issue ads. In writing its regulations after the court opinion, the commission said that only the donations made "for the purpose of furthering electioneering communications" must be disclosed.

Among the groups that have not disclosed their funding sources is the conservative American Future Fund, which has reported $3.6 million in spending but has not disclosed any donors. A message left with the Iowa-based group was not returned.

The new conservative group Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies recently disclosed some $1.1 million in funding without listing donations. Unions and corporate trade associations have also filed forms listing spending with no source, but their membership typically gives dues or contributions that are not earmarked for political ads.

Watchdog groups say the Federal Election Commission further weakened disclosure requirements last month with a split vote that stopped an investigation of the conservative group Freedom's Watch. The group filed 58 disclosure forms in the 2008 election cycle before disbanding, but only two of them listed contributions. The major source of funding for the group came from casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire chairman and chief executive of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. A spokesman for Adelson declined to comment.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee filed the original complaint against Freedom's Watch, citing an article in the New York Times reporting that Adelson "insisted on parcelling out his money project by project" when giving to the group.

The FEC's general counsel recommended that the commission open an investigation, but the three Republican commissioners voted against it, dismissing the complaint. The six-member commission is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats.

The Republican commissioners said they interpreted the regulations to mean that a donation only needed to be reported if it was for the specific advertisement included on the disclosure form. That means that even if Adelson had given money to run advertisements generally, his name wouldn't be required to be disclosed unless he directed his money toward specific ads.

Campaign watchdogs the FEC decision signals to other interest groups that they needn't worry about investigations into their funding.

"There was no decision made but they basically made clear where they're standing," said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, which advocates for stricter regulation of campaign spending.

Four votes would have been required to open the investigation; the commission voted 3-2 against that move, with one commissioner recusing himself.

"This is an unprecedented narrow reading of the regulation," said commissioner Ellen Weintraub, who helped draft the 2007 regulation requiring disclosure of donors. "It's certainly not what I intended when I voted for that regulation."

Weintraub said the regulation was changed in 2007 to prevent an organization like a union from having to disclose the names of millions of members every time it ran an ad - not to exempt groups that spend most of their money on election ads. But Don McGahn, one of the Republican commissioners, said he wasn't sure how to read the requirement. "The enforcement process is not the place to determine what the rule means," McGahn said.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Election, The Tea Party and The High Cost of Doing Nothing.

Commentary by
Patrick McCormick

Yesterday's Primary Elections surprised a lot of people. It shouldn't have. Many Republican voters (Democratic as well) are angry with establishment politicians, either those running or those holding office. They understand the nation is in dire financial distress.

Instead of coming to the table and working through their political differences, our leaders have spent the best of two years trading insults and blocking the other party's attempts to create any meaningful legislation. It was a frustrating period for most of US who are either working for less or unemployed.

During the same difficult period, most municipalities around the country raised their fees. None cut their payrolls; and I do not mean cut staff, I mean an across the board cut of around 40%. After all, they do live on tax revenue.

Our political leadership was seen by many to have been fiddling while the Republic burned. It is difficult to watch the crew having a great time "Roasting the Captain", while the Ship of State is sinking.

The country needed more than that. The voters expected more than that. Members of Congress should have delivered more than that. It's time to pay the piper and he's piping "Yankee Doodle".

So… You Want My Vote

Commentary by Patrick McCormick

Well, let me tell you a few things. I do not follow anyone’s party line. I think for myself. I like candidates that deal in relevant issues, truth and facts. I am concerned about our economy, jobs, the environment and preserving the Constitution. I want to see sensible campaign finance reform and by that, I mean severely limited amounts from any single entity, complete transparency and absolutely no foreign donations from any source.

I will not vote for you if you spend your time stirring up hate and fear instead of entering into intelligent debate. I will not vote for you if you do not propose concrete suggestions to fix the problems that face US today. If you are an office holder and you have not been negotiating with members of other the party in good faith, I will not cast my vote for your re-election.

To earn my vote, a candidate or current office holder must work in the best interests of this country and its people, not large corporate or special interests and never a foreign government or business. You must be sincerely devoted to US, the citizens of the United States of America.

I will use these criteria when I evaluate all candidates and current office holders. I take my vote seriously and I insist that you do the same.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Why Did Frank Branham Die - Fate or Negligence

I found the story of Frank Branham on CNN. It touched me in several ways.

I grew up in Illinois and used to go boating on McCullom Lake. Friends of mine owned a summer home there.

I have young daughter and a grandchild on the way. The story of Frank Branham is one more potent reminder that pollution and the other environmental issues will bring them harm after I am gone.

I have attached the CNN story about Frank Branham. Read it. The story is tragic, but it holds an important lesson for all of US.

I have posted my thoughts in the comments section.

What killed Frank Branham?

By David S. Martin, CNN
September 14, 2010 9:42 a.m. EDT

A lawsuit alleges that a plant near McCullom Lake, Illinois, leaked toxic chemicals into the groundwater, causing brain cancer.

(CNN) -- When Joanne Branham lost her husband, Frank, to a brain tumor, she was devastated. But it wasn't until she visited her old neighbors in McCullom Lake, Illinois, that she began to question the cause of his death.

Back in the community where she and Frank had lived for almost 40 years, Branham learned two of her former neighbors also had brain tumors.

"It was like a light bulb went off," Branham recalls. "How can that many have cancer living right next door to each other?"

Since then, more brain cancer cases have turned up, 30 in all, among current and former residents of McCullom Lake, a community of about 1,000 residents in northern Illinois, not far from the Wisconsin state line.

Branham and others in McCullom Lake are now pointing the finger at a chemical plant a mile up the road in Ringwood, Illinois.

For decades, they say, the Rohm and Haas plant dumped, spilled and leaked thousands of pounds of vinyl chloride and other toxic chemicals, poisoning the water and air around McCullom Lake.

"I don't think there's been a bigger brain cancer cluster outside the workplace -- ever," says Aaron Freiwald, attorney for 31 McCullom Lake Village plaintiffs now suing Rohm and Haas. In addition to the brain cancer cases, there is one plaintiff alleging her liver damage resulted from environmental pollution. The company denies making anyone sick.

Branham's case is the first to go to trial, with jury selection set to begin Wednesday in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Frank Branham died in June 2004, a month after learning that he had a deadly glioblastoma brain tumor. He was 63.

"Frank didn't have a chance," Joanne Branham says. "What they did was very wrong. They played with people's lives. I lost a husband, who was my best friend. The kids lost their father. The grandkids lost their grandfather," she added, barely able to get her words out through her tears.

Rohm and Haas says even though the cancer cases are close together, they are random.

"There is no cluster in McCullom Lake Village," says Kevin Van Wart, attorney for Rohm and Haas. "If you draw circles around selected cases, you can always draw the conclusion of something unusual."

Brain and central nervous system cancers strike 7.6 per 100,000 people in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute. An estimated 22,020 men and women in the United States will get diagnosed with these cancers this year.

A month after the lawsuit was filed in 2006, the McHenry County Health Department in Illinois concluded there was no cluster of cancer cases in McCullom Lake. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did its own analysis and agreed.

The Rohm and Haas site produces polymers, adhesives, resins and sealants on a 120-acre site originally built as a dairy operation in 1916 and converted to chemical manufacturing in the early 1940s.

The facility has disposed its waste off site since 1978, but vinyl chloride, trichloroethylene, or TCE, and vinylidene chloride have all been found in nearby groundwater, according to the CDC.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services calls vinyl chloride "a known carcinogen." Long-term exposure to vinyl chloride on the job increases workers' risk of cancers of the liver, brain, lung and blood, according to the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

Breathing or drinking high levels of TCE can damage the central nervous system, liver and lungs and also cause an abnormal heartbeat, according to the agency. Breathing high levels of vinylidene chloride can affect the central nervous system, liver and kidneys, the agency says.

But Van Wart, the Rohm and Haas attorney, says the plume of contaminated groundwater is moving away from McCullom Lake and does not affect any homes or residential wells.

"Nobody disputes that it exists. But that is not going anywhere near McCullom Lake Village," Van Wart says. "No agency has ever concluded any resident was exposed to dangerous chemicals."

To put residents' fears at ease, Rohm and Haas has offered to pay up to $50,000 to test residents' wells. There are about 400 homes with private wells in the village.

The company has also offered to pay $5,000 to monitor the air for vinyl chloride and $50,000 for an independent analysis of theories of possible vinyl chloride exposure.

'A beautiful place to live'

When Joanne and Frank Branham moved to McCullom Lake in August 1960, they saw a picturesque community with other young families.

It was a beautiful place to live. We lived by a beach. We had such close neighbors. The whole subdivision was like a family," says Branham, who raised five children there.

Frank Branham worked as general manager at a die cast plant in nearby Woodstock, Illinois.

On Sundays, the husbands would go down to the beach to play baseball. The wives would pack picnic baskets and watch.

Looking back, Joanne Branham says there were warning signs. In the summer, a terrible odor would sometimes force them to close their windows, she says.

"We didn't put two and two together until we found there were so many other neighbors with cancers," Branham says.

After her husband died, Joanne Branham's children bought her a plane ticket to return to Illinois, from Phoenix, Arizona, where she and her husband had retired.

Visiting old friends, she learned former next-door neighbor Bryan Freund also has a brain tumor, an oligodendroglioma. So does Kurt Weisenberger, who lives on the other side of the Freunds, two doors down from the Branhams' former home.

Freund, 49, a truck driver and jewelry store owner, says he never gave the Rohm and Haas plant a second thought until Joanne Branham came back to town.

"It was really just a place I drove past," says Freund, who now suffers from headaches, seizures and memory loss.

"I had dreams and aspirations," he adds. "Now when I look to the future it's really sort of a blank. I can't really expect to have one. That's a daily struggle."

Weisenberger, 69, a retired general contractor, says he hopes the lawsuit will bring out the truth of what happened to the people of McCullom Lake.

"It was a cover-up from the get-go as far as I'm concerned," says Weisenberger, who also suffers from seizures.

Joanne Branham says she hopes the lawsuit, which asks for unspecified compensatory and punitive compensation, will make companies think twice.

"What they did was wrong, and if this will save one person's life and they won't do this again, it will be worth it," she says.

The trial is expected to last 10 to 12 weeks.

An Old Man’s Advice to His Young Daughter

By Patrick McCormick

Insight is a strange thing, it always bumps into you when you least expect it.

My daughter and I were watching a program about various mental disorders that affect some children. The show addressed the percentages of a child contracting one horrible thing or another. The information presented was upsetting for her to watch.

She said, “I’m going to write down all of the different things that can affect a baby from birth to its adulthood and see if I can determine what percentage of kids grow up without problems”, I countered, “Don’t bother; the list would be too long, besides the ending to life is always the same”. She looked at me, “Death”, I added. A frown came over her face. “I don’t like to think about death”, she said.

Out of the blue, these words fell out of my mouth, “Look at it this way, if you were born 60 million years ago you would have been a dinosaur.” “That’s true”, she agreed. “ There were two kinds of dinosaurs, ones that ate plants and those that ate meat” I offered and went on, “The plant eaters died from a bowel obstruction or got eaten by the predators…. the predators got injured chasing prey and the other predators ate them….Even then, the ending was the same”.

Oh dad, “You make it sound awful”. I nodded my head and sighed, “Life is what it is honey. Some days are beautiful, some days you are walking on thorns. My advice to you is to enjoy all of it. Go out into this world and breathe it, taste it, feel it. Live it like every day was your last. Don’t do anything you're not proud of, but smell all of the flowers you can.” She looked at me with a whimsical smile, “Is that what you did Pop”? I laughed, as I answered her, “Not often enough”.

She slid over and we hugged. I added a last bit of fatherly advice, “Look at it this way kid, when I look back at my life it’s just as if I had seen it in a movie”. She looked at me and I looked at her, “Sit back and enjoy the show darling… buy some popcorn”. She kissed me and said, “Thanks for the ticket Dad”.

It was one of the best moments of my life.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Wal-Mart Enters the Wireless Game… Hallelujah.

Well now, if capitalism still works in the US of A, I predict a massive drop in cell phone charges. Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and all the others have had their way, Biblically, with us for a long time. Serious low cost competition is exactly what US little guys and gals have been waiting for. I say “Bring it on”, and not a moment too soon; we are all going broke and need all the help we can get

I lifted the following article from the Associated Press:.

Wal-Mart Introduces First Wireless Plan Under Own Brand, Powered by T-Mobile

Wal-Mart is introducing the first cell phone plan that uses the chain's own branding, further demonstrating its clout in getting special deals from wireless carriers.

The Wal-Mart Family Mobile service will run on T-Mobile USA's network. Unlimited calling and texting will cost $45 per month for the first line and $25 for each additional line for the family. The Wal-Mart-branded service will be offered starting next week.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

NFL Football... The Agony and Ecstasy of Opening Day

Commentary by Patrick McCormick

I don’t watch a lot of sports on the tube anymore, but I still enjoy a football game now and then. I grew up in Chicago and used to love the Bears. My father had a small bar and restaurant; I would go there to watch the games. It was a lot of fun. I knew all of his customers; many were my friends. It was a great way to kill a Sunday.

I moved to Sarasota, Florida, in 1993 and started watching Buccaneer football games. They were worse than the Bears; it was just like being home. Then, as if by magic and a lot like the Bears, they won a Super Bowl. To my amazement, they did the same thing the Bears did and promptly broke up their championship team. They have been getting progressively worse each season. It's been a terrible disappointment.

Somehow, I survived a succession of dry years watching what I call, “Rope-a-dope-football”, one dumb play after another. They could not score many points, but they wanted to play defensively. How many times can you run the ball up the middle of the field and not gain any yards. You would think the coaches would try a different play. No, they would just keep running the same play until they fumbled the ball.

I would throw my chips across the room. I’d kick the dog and holler at my kid. Finally, after having my emotions twisted with torment and frustration, I would turn off the television and leave the room. Chug a beer, have a shot, pace around the house; invariably I would go back and turn the TV on again. God I love the game.

Well it’s Sunday; the season opener. The Buccaneers are playing the Browns at home and there is nothing on my “Honey do List”. I am ready for some football. Got my chips and dip and some cold beer. I even have some brats for the grill. Anxious, I plop down onto the couch to watch the pregame baloney; just like millions of other football bums. I’m drinking a beer and starting to feel pretty good… and then I hear it; No! At first I don't believe it...I get on the internet and check it out. It's true!

The game is blacked out! Those morons couldn’t sell enough tickets; now what. I threw my chips across the room. God, I hate this game!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Corporate and Private Campaign Donations.. Necessary or Bribery

Commentary by
Patrick McCormick

I have been a proponent of campaign finance reform for many years. This practice of massively funding specific candidates, on any level, has to stop. How can the average citizen benefit when a super wealthy individual, a corporation or a special interest group pays the way for a candidate that supports their specific viewpoint. It really does nothing for US and it is simply influence peddling. Because of this practice, your desires mean less than the desires of the campaign donors. Whether you are a Republican, Democrat or an Independent, this practice deletes the power of your vote. It is an insult to all of US. The government of The People, by The People and For the People suffers terribly from this practice. We still have the power to stop it if we wish to.

Modern technological advancements like the internet and social networking allow US instant contact with one another. Those advances also allow our leaders to poll US and state their campaign issues and viewpoints directly to US. Direct solicitations of campaign contributions are also possible using internet. Candidate Obama raised huge sums using the internet.

The greatest expense of running a campaign for election is the purchase of media advertising. It is now possible for candidates to advertise directly on the internet. They can reach their supporters and all other interested parties through social networking. Candidates all have websites. They have blogs and send out constant streams of email. It would also be possible to create a “Political Channel” for registered candidates. Write in campaigns also have potential using the internet.

Massive campaign contributions by wealthy individuals, corporate interests, special interest groups and foreign governments are no longer necessary. Our politicians like them because they get to manipulate any funds left when they leave office. In my opinion, “They constitute a delayed bribe”.

Write your representatives; demand change. Do not stop writing until favorable change happens and by favorable I mean change that makes our individual votes heard equally throughout this land. That was the intention of our founding fathers.

I have a link to your representatives on my blog; write them. They need to understand your thoughts on this matter.

9/11 Let US Always Remember

Commentary by Patrick McCormick

Let US remember the sunny days that came before that tragic morning.

Let US remember all of those that perished, in the towers, in the aircraft, in the Pentagon and on the ground. Their lives were an unwilling sacrifice to our Democratic way of life.

Let US remember the members of our military, and the military of nations that supported our efforts, in the two wars that followed. They made their sacrifice in the name of honor, justice and peace.

Let US remember the rescue workers that perished, and the ones that are now fighting illnesses caused by the toxic air they breathed while trying to rescue the injured or retrieve the remains of the dead. They are still suffering and many of them need our help today.

Let US remember that we are a proud and just nation, one free and equal people, united under one Constitution.

Let US remember all of these things as we go about our lives free and peacefully. Most of US survived physically unharmed, but the pain and enormity of this event has touched US all.

Let US never forget it.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Our Environment, Will Negative or Positive Efforts Make the Changes We Need.

Civilization has progressed, one-step at a time, from the Stone Age until the present day. True, our steps are coming rapidly now, technology has us moving at breakneck speed. In my lifetime, I have seen overwhelming advancements. I have also witnessed terrible pollution, environmental catastrophes and the onset of rapid global warming. Unless we take dramatic action now, the world we leave for our descendants will not be as hospitable as the one we inherited from our parents.

How could this happen? Actually, it was easy. Our governments have become the servants of big business. Their financial considerations took precedent over environmental considerations. You know that story. Things got out of control. The faster technology advanced, the faster our environment deteriorated. There was no overall plan or oversight; we simply incorporated new technological advancements into our society without question. They were cool. They were neat. They made our lives easier. The byproducts of all these wonderful things were toxins in our food, water and the air we breathe. Global warming is just one of those byproducts.

Now we are facing the onset of many potentially catastrophic changes in our world’s environment; altered weather patterns, rising sea level and temperature changes to name a few. Business and government seem oblivious to the issues. Our protests are largely unheard. Yes, some officials have paid lip service to our cries, but that is all they have contributed… talk. Entrepreneurs from the private sector are making meaningful changes. We need to take the next step; now.

Let us create something that will cause our leaders to do more than talk about change, something that will gain worldwide publicity, something that will show big business and our politicians that going Green will be beneficial. We need to show them that going Green can enable US to become more competitive. We need to show them how to generate profit in a Brave Green World.

I propose we channel some of our efforts and create a model Industrial Community that functions purely on renewable energy. Impossible you say; remember David and Goliath. Here is a potential scenario that could work.

Find a suitable location. Our site will need a lot of sunlight and wind. If it were near the ocean, tide and wave action could also generate electricity. It should be near a Port. It should be in a state with high unemployment and low wages. I live in Southwest Florida; the conditions are perfect here. There are several ports. Port Manatee on Tampa Bay is an excellent candidate, but there are many other great potential sites in the Sunbelt.

Build a large Thermal Solar Electrical generation facility like the ones in California or Seville, Spain. If we use salt water to generate the steam, we obtain two usable byproducts; distilled fresh water and sea salt. We also build a large wind farm for rainy days. I like the helical type because they work in variable winds and winds of very low speed. They are also a little easier on the birds.

We create an enterprise zone within or near the port. This will require State and Local approval.

In that zone, we create a light to heavy manufacturing and assembly operation. We actively solicit other manufacturers to join us. Low cost electricity, low costs of labor, access to a port, railroad and interstate highway will all add to our site’s desirability.

We joint venture with a steel producer. We use a large portion of our electricity to melt scrap metal, which we can offer, inexpensively to our manufacturers or export. Smelting metal electrically requires tremendous power, which is terribly expensive. Using renewable energy will dramatically reduce the costs of a smelting operation. Smelting metal with renewable energy will also gain worldwide publicity.

Our world runs on electrical energy. The methods we use to produce that energy have created many of our ecological problems. Who says we must use oil or coal generated electricity to power our manufacturing facilities. There are 600,000 people in Seville, Spain. They receive their power from a thermal solar plant. The amount of electricity required to light their homes and offices is nearly the same as the amount of electricity required to run an electrical smelting operation. An automobile assembly line runs on a lot less.

By locating our operation in a port, we could receive sub assemblies from around the world and perform the final assembly onsite. We would also have access to outbound shipping and rail for our finished products and excess metals.

This type of operation would provide many jobs, revenue for the Port, the Local Communities and the State. Employees would pay income taxes and pay for their own health care and pensions. Inexpensive power and water along with the lower cost of labor would make our output highly competitive.

A small group of dedicated activists could sell the idea to developers, local governments and manufacturers. Our overall economy is suffering; this type of project will be much easier to sell today than three years ago. It would be a far greater adventure than waving signs in protest. “Can it be done”, is not the question. The question is, “Do we want to see it to get done”.

It would be easy to replicate a successful working model in other locations. I am sure many other business entrepreneurs would follow suit with all sorts of spin offs. After all, that is the long-term goal, to lead big business into a Brave Green World and begin to clean up our planet in the process.

Oh, I never said we should stop protesting polluters.

I have a plan to attract major investors, promote the site, attract products for manufacture and advertise them for consumption. It all fits in a neat achievable package. I will be happy to discuss this with any serious participants.

Seriously Green,

Patrick McCormick

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Climate Change and the Environment; Do We Protest the Establishment or March in a New Direction

Commentary by Patrick
Primitive Politics
Sept 9, 22010

I was reading an article in Grist that was asking for ideas for Direct Action; I loved it. Around the world, there is a lot of positive activity; renewable energy is beginning to catch on. Unfortunately, progress is painfully slow; new projects are underfunded and mostly unrecognized. The US Government has avoided taking any meaningful positive action. There are many reasons for that.

Big Coal and Big Oil companies fuel energy production. Their employees number in the millions. They pay many taxes and generate revenue for various local and state governments, as well as the FED. They donate millions to candidates before their elections to be sure they have many friends in Congress. They are Goliath forces to reckon with. In order to beat them, we will have to change the system. That is a daunting task. However, David slew a giant with a sling and a stone; nothing is hopeless unless you believe it is so.

Protesting, waving signs with catchy slogans, disrupting businesses and local traffic will take years and may never succeed in time to save US. We need to focus our energy in areas that will maximize publicity and create lasting effects. It will mean some changes in strategy and tactics. You can still save our world.

I have a plan that could do that and will post it on this blog tomorrow. Would you like to hear more?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

NATO Demands Karzai Government Investigate Murder and Theft in Chicken Coop.

Does anyone really believe that the fox will investigate the theft of eggs and murders in the chicken coop?

Commentary by Patrick McCormnick
Primitive Politics, Sept 8, 2010

The United States is supporting a criminal enterprise disguised as the Karzai government. We have spent billions of dollars and slaughtered thousands of innocent people, not to mention the sacrifice of our brave troops. Troops that believe they are fighting for an honorable cause.

It is true, supported by the Taliban; Osama Bin Laden attacked US on 9/11. We do have a score to settle with them. However, trying to hunt them down in the rugged Afghan countryside has been an exercise in futility. Supporting the Afghan government has been an exercise in stupidity. We have squandered too much money and wasted too many lives. It is far too great a burden for our shaky economy to bear any longer.

We have gained nothing. We stand to gain nothing. If we were to leave, the Taliban and perhaps Bin Laden would come out in the open. We could drop a large orbital bomb on their victory celebration. A cruise missile or two might do the job. There has to be an easier way of extracting revenge then the occupation of an entire country. What are we thinking about?

I have included a Washington Post article.

NATO chief: Karzai must crack down on graft

Afghan bank takeover

Despite media reports of corruption at Kabul Bank, Afghan officials insist that it is not in danger of collapse.

By Craig Whitlock
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 7, 2010; 10:46 PM

Reports about endemic corruption in Afghanistan are undermining public support for the war among NATO allies, the military alliance's leader warned Tuesday.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he has told Afghan President Hamid Karzai several times that he needs to crack down on graft. Karzai has irritated allies in Washington and in European capitals by blocking corruption investigations of members of his palace staff. Meantime, U.S. officials have raised concerns that billions of dollars in foreign aid to Afghanistan are being siphoned off or diverted.

"It is essential that they strengthen the fight against corruption," Rasmussen said Tuesday in an interview with Washington Post reporters and editors. "All these stories about irregularities and corruption are damaging for public support for our presence in Afghanistan."

Equally important, he said, is the need for ordinary Afghans to develop confidence in their government instead of the Taliban and other insurgents.

"He must get this right," Rasmussen said of Karzai. "And I think he understands it is crucial."

Although NATO has expanded its presence in Afghanistan over the past year - led by an increase of nearly 30,000 U.S. troops - it is grappling with the pending exits of some key contributors. The Netherlands withdrew its 2,000-member force last month, and Canada is scheduled to bring its 3,000 troops home next summer. Britain has said it plans to end combat missions by 2015 and possibly start withdrawing some forces next year.

Rasmussen said pressure for a quicker pullout has eased since an international conference in Kabul in July endorsed a goal to have Afghan troops take the lead in all security operations by the end of 2014. NATO forces would remain after that to train and advise the Afghans, but in much lower numbers.

About 41,000 NATO and other foreign forces are currently in Afghanistan, in addition to about 100,000 U.S. troops.

Rasmussen, who was in Washington to meet with President Obama at the White House, said he hoped that Afghan forces could take over security responsibilities in at least some parts of the country by next July. That would dovetail with Obama's pledge to start withdrawing at least some U.S. forces by then.

The 2014 timetable, Rasmussen said, has "given some clarity" to NATO members and partners that had disagreed about when Afghan forces should be expected to fend largely for themselves.

At the same time, he cautioned that the timetable - which he variously characterized as "a road map" and "an ambition" - is not set in stone and will depend on how much progress is made in fighting the Taliban.

Another question is whether Afghanistan's troops and police officers, most of whom are illiterate and have scant experience, will be up to the job. NATO has tried since 2002 to rebuild the security forces, but the effort was dogged by so many problems that U.S. commanders announced last year that they were restarting the training program from scratch.

And although U.S. officials say matters have improved, NATO is still struggling to fill a long-standing request for 450 additional trainers.

"Seen retrospectively, I think, one of the problems is that we have underestimated the task," Rasmussen said of the training effort. "That's exactly the problem - we started too late."

Little Church Wants to Start Big Fire and Burn Korans on 9/11

The Rev. Terry Jones is trying to prove to his minuscule congregation that he is a more potent Witch Doctor than Muslim witch doctors. (A witch doctor raises his status when he destroys the "Ju Ju" of another witch doctor.)

I think the Reverend has a lot to learn about this world. He should do so before he screws things up for a lot of innocent people.

My advice, "Just shake your rubber chicken Terry and pass the plate".

Ok, this is no joke. A lot is a stake. Read the article from the Washington Post.

U.S. officials, religious leaders condemn plans to burn Korans on 9/11

By Tara Bahrampour and Michelle Boorstein
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, September 8, 2010; 3:08 AM

The plan by a tiny Florida church to burn Korans on Sept. 11 is drawing condemnation from top U.S. officials and religious leaders, including the White House, the State Department and Gen. David H. Petraeus, who warned Tuesday that it could endanger U.S. troops in the Muslim world.
This Story

At the Dove World Outreach Center, a 50-member evangelical Christian church in Gainesville, the Rev. Terry Jones told CNN on Tuesday that he is "taking the general's words very serious" and that "we are definitely praying about it," leaving open the possibility that the event could be canceled. But he also said the plan is firm and is meant as "a warning to radical Islam" that "if you attack us, we will attack you."

The 58-year-old pastor told the Associated Press that he has received more than 100 death threats and has started wearing a pistol strapped to his hip.

The planned burning of the holy book of Islam comes at a time of rising expression of anti-Muslim sentiment nationwide, and many fear that it will harm U.S. relations with the Muslim world as NATO troop levels increase in Afghanistan.

Already, repercussions have begun. On Monday in Kabul, protesters burned Jones in effigy and chanted "Death to America" and "Death to Obama."

In Washington, two dozen Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders from across the country gathered Tuesday for an Emergency Faith Leaders Summit on anti-Muslim sentiment.

"Religious leaders cannot stand by in silence when things like this are happening," Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the archbishop emeritus of Washington, said at a news conference. Burning the Koran, he warned, could be "taken by some as the real story of America, and it is not."

Actions and hate speech against Muslims "bring dishonor to the name of Jesus Christ," said the Rev. Richard Cizik, president of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good and a former lobbyist for the National Association of Evangelicals.

Said the Rev. Gerald Durley, pastor at Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta: "From a Christian perspective, this is not what we stand for. This is a fringe group of individuals."

The circle of condemnation widened Tuesday to include White House spokesman Robert Gibbs; Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; her spokesman P.J. Crowley, who called the planned burning "un-American"; and Petraeus, who compared the action to the behavior of the Taliban and said it could undermine U.S. efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Even the rumor that it might take place has sparked demonstrations such as the one that took place in Kabul" on Monday, said Petraeus, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan. "Were the actual burning to take place, the safety of our soldiers and civilians would be put in jeopardy, and accomplishment of the mission would be made more difficult."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Republicans Win in November - President Obama Takes the Wheel

Commentary by Patrick McCormick
Primitive Politics Sept 6, 2010

For nearly two years, the republican minority has thwarted Democratic legislation. They had just enough votes and more than enough tricks to do so. Most of US have sat back and watched as our leaders fiddled and danced around some very important issues. Neither side was willing to compromise. It has been an excessively painful performance to watch. The economy is in bad shape, people are out of work and almost nothing positive has been done.

The party in power usually takes the blame for failure and it looks as if the Democratic Congressmen and Senators are going to pay a heavy price for it. There were many promises made during Barack Obama’s run for the White House; very few of them have been kept. The people are angry and they are going to direct that anger somewhere. It appears the GOP will take control of both houses.

Ah, but then the shoe will be on the other foot. The Republican Party will have to take the blame for further failure. Democrats will still hold a large number of seats and the president will have veto power. They can become the party of NO, if they wish. If that happens the big losers will be the American People, and they will be extremely angry in 2012. Tremendous pressure will be on the President and the Republicans to create some meaningful legislation. They will be forced to cooperate with each other; politics makes such strange bedfellows.

An opportunity to become a truly Great Statesman will fall, like manna from heaven, into President Obama’s lap. If he responds positively, sits down, and comprises with the New Congress, we could pull out of this recession. Barack Obama would then go down in history as one of our greatest presidents. Think about it… the Republican Party would give him, the object of their most vehement scorn, a great chance at re-election.

If he just says, “No” very little legislation will be passed. This President will take a place of shame next to Herbert Hoover and our Nation will be in deep trouble.

The next two years are going to be very interesting.