Tuesday, October 24, 2017

If the words of the Old English Proverb, “The Pen is Mightier than the Sword” are true, then a population should surely fear the suppression of the written word as much as they fear the restriction of arms.  Many legal and political battles were fought during the Twentieth Century, demonstrating that many Americans hold both “Freedom of the Press” and “The Right to Bear Arms” in high esteem, because both are necessary to freedom.
            However, while the rights to publish everything from daily news to pornography have been defended and protected, there are areas where the rights to publish are totally restricted.  In our judicial system, judges at every level have the authority to ban publication of facts, by the use of non-disclosure agreements, gag orders, sealing of records, closed courtrooms and other restrictions on the publication of facts.  Hardly a day goes by without disclosure that some public figure is hiding behind these barriers to truth.
            So, who benefits from these suppressions of facts; the public or the miscreants?  Is it in the public’s interest to shield a sexual predator, corporate thief, or corrupt politician, by banning publication of their misdeeds?  How can we have free and open elections when politicians’ backgrounds are hidden behind court orders?
          It is time for legislation to restrict the use of judicial fiats that prevent disclosure of truth.

Monday, September 25, 2017


          I am a combat veteran that graduated from the Army Infantry School named Tigerland at Ft. Polk, Louisiana and served in Vietnam with the 9th Infantry Division.  I am tired of hearing that I and my brothers in arms from all wars our Nation fought did so to defend someone’s freedom to disrespect our flag.
My generation’s war was not fought to protect our borders from invading armies.  Rather, it was fought to stop the spread of an ideology called “Communism” that rejected most everything we held dear, including personal freedoms, private ownership and rule of law, not men.  “Communism” and the “Cold War” were threats to our way of life that are today unknown, but in 1966 they were real and our Nation’s leaders felt it was better to fight it overseas than within our own borders.  I agree our involvement in Vietnam was long and costly.  Furthermore, I would not trade one of the people listed on “The Wall” for the entire wretched country, much less the more than fifty-thousand that died.  But understand I and my fellows did not go there to capture real-estate. We went there for an ideal; a belief that we lived in the greatest nation on earth and that it was our time to defend it against all enemies, both foreign and domestic.
Today, as then, the “Stars and Stripes” is the iconic symbol of our great nation and from its humble beginnings in 1776, only those that would destroy this nation, seek to dishonor its flag.
I did not slog rice paddies, sleep in the jungle, stay awake all night on a perimeter and see my friends die so that anyone who enjoys living in this great country would kneel like a slave before the greatest symbol of freedom ever known to the world.  I fought so that flag would continue to wave over our country and institutions, and so people could stand tall in its presence with confidence that as long as it waves, it symbolizes the greatest nation on earth.  I am convinced those that fought and died in the Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, and every other war our nation fought did so for the same reasons.
A final thought:  Military deserters and traitors forfeit their honor and are denied the privileges of their rank and the privilege of saluting an officer or our flag.  This old soldier would much rather see our young people identify with those that fought and died for our flag, than to identify with those that betrayed their flag.


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Obamacare Replacement

I am a retired minister, Cherokee Indian and U.S. Army veteran that has received medical care in the private sector, Indian Health Services and the VA.  My personal experience with these services prompts me to write this letter because the healthcare model they present is seemingly being ignored in the debate over how to replace Obamacare.

The healthcare afforded American Indians and veterans, has always provided me with quality care and the added benefit of voluntary participation on my part.  At various times during my working career, I had employer provided healthcare and during those times, I used private sector healthcare.  The point is that when private health insurance was unaffordable or unavailable I could use IHS or VA services, free from the fear of bankruptcy, or unreasonably high insurance rates.  This government provided safety net has allowed me, not an insurance company, to be in control of my health care.

In my opinion, our broken healthcare system is the result of insurance companies controlling healthcare and the way to fix the problems is to put individuals back in control.

Our government has years of experience in IHS and VA healthcare, providing models that could be expanded to the general population with fees for healthcare based on family incomes.  For those that do not wish to use the services, they would be free to purchase insurance and use private sector services. 

Some inherent advantages in this system are:

1.        Insurance companies, healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, or anyone involved in healthcare will have to compete for the business of those that choose to use the private sector, resulting in lower costs overall.

2.        The fee based on income for Public Health Service (PHS) care allows all Americans to have healthcare, but as the fee rises for those with higher incomes, it becomes more economical to purchase insurance and use private services.

3.        The other side of the equation in item 2 is that pricing pressures on insurance and healthcare services will always be downward because higher prices will drive private customers back to the PHS.

4.        Unlike a single payer system, this will not force insurance companies or private healthcare providers out of business, by forcing people to use the system.  It is a voluntary system for those that do not have health insurance or the means to pay for private care.

5.        This system can effectively incorporate existing subsidies for low income healthcare, Medicare, Medicaid and other existing programs, thereby providing, along with the fees charged, enough money to fund this new program without further deficits or tax increases.

6.        This system will allow Americans choice and therefore, control of their healthcare by eliminating the strangleholds forced by threat of financial ruin, or lack of healthcare.