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Monday, December 10, 2012
Again, Bah, Humbug! 2012
Why do we allow a vocal minority to dictate how we are permitted to celebrate or even acknowledge some of our most cherished traditions? Specifically, at this time of the year, Christmas.
 
When you try to please everyone, you please no one. Putting it another way, when you try not to offend anyone, you are bound to offend almost everyone. And, that seems to be the situation with Christmas.
 
I, for one, am sick of it. Not Christmas, but the people who are attacking our most cherished traditions. And, where is the “silent majority?” Why aren’t more people standing up and telling the vocal minority on the Left to get lost.
 
Instead, we see major corporations, educators, the media and our so-called political leaders routinely capitulating to the forces of political correctness.
 
Once again we are being subjected to the never-ending onslaught of politically correct efforts to do away with another of America’s historical traditions. Led by the ACLU, the warriors of the Left, who believe in nothing and want to prevent
those who do believe in something from exercising their own rights. The ACLU has sued the U.S. Government to take God, Christmas or anything religious out of all public displays.
 
The American Family Association reported that this year the city of Richmond, Virginia agreed to rename their annual “Christmas” parade the “Dominion Holiday Parade,” at the insistence of its corporate sponsor, Dominion, an energy company.
 
However, after receiving thousands of emails and hundreds of letters of protest, the city reversed its decision and voted to change the name to the “Dominion Christmas Parade.” My question is, why couldn’t they have made that choice in the first place?
 
Following are some of the ways to celebrate the “Holiday” season that are currently considered acceptable:
-It’s OK to celebrate “The Holidays” in our public institutions, as long as they do not appear to advocate a particular religious belief, especially Christianity.
-It’s OK to wish people “Happy Holidays” but not “Merry Christmas.” By the way, what Holiday would it be if not Christmas? The last time I looked, the word was based on the name, Christ.
-It’s OK to celebrate Kwanza, an artificial, made-up tradition, in our schools.
-It’s OK to celebrate Witchcraft.
-It’s OK to acknowledge Muslim beliefs, but not Christian.
 
I could go on, and no doubt you could add more examples to the list, but my point in writing this is to express my resentment in general about the dispute over Christmas that has been taking place in America in recent years and about the right of
Americans to publicly celebrate their traditions.
 
It might help understand my perspective if you know a little something about my background:
-Start with the fact that I am Jewish, and I do not celebrate Christmas.
-Second, I grew up during the depression and World War II, a time when American values were clearly understood and openly supported by just about everyone.
-Third, I am well educated, was formerly a professional practitioner (as a CPA), and in the past 50 years I have owned and/or operated a number of businesses, my own as well as those of clients.
-Fourth, I have not had any formal religious training and do not attend religious services. I am what is referred to as a secular Jew, although I do believe in G-d.
-Finally, my wife is not Jewish.
 
So, given my background, why should I care about Christmas?
 
Because I appreciate the value of Christian moral teachings, that’s why.
 
Furthermore, I believe that freedom of speech (and expression) should include everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike, not just a vocal anti-religious minority.
 
Our nation was founded largely by Christians, whose values and teachings provide much of the basis of our legal system and traditions. I grew up in that environment, and it never hurt me in any way.
 
As a matter of fact, I believe it was a good thing that Christian traditions and values were present in our schools, and I would like to see them return again.
 
Preventing people from openly expressing themselves, even under the guise of being fair and equitable, simply forces them underground. They may no longer say what’s on their minds, but that doesn’t change their beliefs.
 
The result is a simmering hostility that’s likely to erupt one day in ways no one expects or wants. You can’t keep a lid on a pressure cooker forever.
 
If it becomes acceptable to prevent people from observing certain time honored traditions, such as Christmas, it can easily become equally acceptable to silence others when they speak out about such issues as educating their children,
the justice system and the death penalty, same sex marriage, gays in the military, universal health care, social security, taxation, or a host of other concerns they may have.
 
As noted earlier, I support Christian values. I grew up, was educated and worked in a society that had strong Christian influences, and in the eight plus decades of my life no one has ever tried to force me to believe as they do.
 
So, my inclination when the few try to silence the majority is to tell them to shut up and get lost, which brings me back to Christmas.
 
Although I resent the actions of the politically correct minority who are attempting to prevent others from observing Christmas and want to remove every last vestige of Christianity and Christmas from public life, my wife and I do not observe
the Holiday ourselves. Unfortunately, however, the excessive commercialization of Christmas does trouble me. I’m not bothered that Christians want to celebrate the birth of Christ, and I don’t mind that their celebration has been intricately
woven into the fabric of our culture. In fact, I support both.
 
What I do mind is turning Christmas into nothing more than a marketing opportunity. It seems to get worse every year, and the venal displays of greed and avarice that are demonstrated by businesses and consumers alike are very offensive to me.
 
© 2012 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved
 
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Observations About Israel
Start with the fact that I am Jewish. However, before you discount my comments as just another biased expression of unqualified support for Israel, you might find that my experience as a largely secular American Jew may provide some insight into the issues involved in the continuing struggle between Israel, Hamas and Hezbollah.
 
First, some background. Personal, that is: I was born in 1928, of an American Jewish couple, whose own parents came to this country in the 1800s, from Russia. My parents did not practice Judaism, they both had only a sixth-grade education, and moved from New York to California in the 1920s, where I was born and raised. I have (had) two siblings: a brother (deceased), who was 4-1/2 years my senior, and a sister (also deceased), who was seven years older than I. We grew up in somewhat limited circumstances during the Depression, and in typical middle class conditions after WWII, and we are (were) all college grads, with professional educations in teaching, engineering, and accounting respectively.
 
Religion was not a part of our upbringing. Both my parents spoke Yiddish, and my mother spoke a little Russian, but there was no formal religious training. Our family settled in Los Angeles, which had a large Jewish population. I can’t say that I experienced a great deal of overtly hostile prejudice as I was growing up, although I certainly did encounter my share in my business life.
 
I graduated high school in 1946, at the time the world was in the midst of trying to resolve the situation with the Jews in the Middle East, who were attempting to create a homeland for their people. I can remember many heated discussions among the Jewish students at the time about partitioning what was then part of the British Protectorate in the Middle East, to carve out the nation of Israel in the desert. But, my involvement was largely peripheral. I didn’t pay a lot of attention and wasn’t particularly interested, and I hardly noticed when the nation of Israel was finally created by the UN in 1948.
 
Fast forward 64 years: Today, I am a staunch supporter of Israel.
 
So what happened?
 
On the way to arriving at my current perspective about the Jews and Israel, as I gained experience and learned more, I was influenced by some of the basic realities about the world we live in:
 
The fact that a Jew is largely secular and does not practice Judaism does not change the reality that the world in general considers almost everyone with Jewish ancestry to be a Jew, no matter how “Jewish” or secular they may be. Hitler and the Holocaust demonstrated that quite vividly. People may be only “half” or “one-quarter” or “one-eighth” Jewish, but when push comes to shove, they are invariably “Jewish”.
 
The Jews are convenient scapegoats for the transgressions or ambitions of others. How many times have you heard the claim that Jewish bankers control the world, that all Jews are rich, that they always take advantage of others, in business or otherwise (“I Jewed him down” is a common expression), that they are “Christ Killers,” that they kill Muslim children and use their blood to bake bread, that they secretly plot to control various countries, etc., etc., ad nauseum. Whatever it takes for various leaders to demagogue the Jews and divert the attention of others from their own despicable behavior. All that’s necessary is a mix of an uninformed population, poverty and religious fanaticism to create a foundation for the endless stream of lies and distortions that are employed to make the Jews the scapegoats for everything that’s wrong with the world and the oppression of others, especially the Palestinians.
 
Many, probably most, Jews are not religious in the formal sense, particularly in America. However, although they may not practice Judaism and may have intermarried, many, perhaps most, still consider themselves Jewish. I am in that category. Dennis Prager has written an excellent series of articles, “Explaining Jews” (Townhall.com), which I highly recommend, for those who would like to learn more about the subject.
 
When I was in high school in the 1940s, and even years later, at the time I was practicing public accounting in the late ‘60s, Jews were still not allowed to stay in many American hotels or resorts, they were not accepted for membership in most country clubs, many companies would not hire them, including major accounting and law firms, they were not accepted by many of the most prestigious universities, and they could not buy homes in many “restricted” neighborhoods, along with suffering a host of other indignities in American society at large. In many respects, it was not much different from the prejudice against African-Americans that has plagued our society for generations, and continues to this day.
 
The response of American Jews was to form their own businesses, law and accounting firms, open their own country clubs, establish their own university (Brandeis), etc., thereby in some ways further defining their separation from American Society in many respects.
 
As the years passed, I learned something about the history of the Jews and the repression and persecution they have suffered since Biblical times, how they always managed to adapt and survive, how their many accomplishments have improved the world.
 
I learned that they face seemingly insurmountable odds, that there are only about five million Jews in Israel, along with about one million Arabs, and that there are a total of only about 13 million Jews in the world today (including Israel) vs 250 million Arabs in 22 states who want to exterminate them.
 
I learned how the Jews have taken the desolate, barren desert land they were given and turned it into a modern, productive, democratic state, with the highest standard of living in the Middle East.
 
I also learned that prejudice and bigotry take many forms, often hiding behind a façade of seemingly being unbiased, but that the potential is always present with some people, sometimes without their even realizing it themselves. I can remember sitting in business meetings and having certain clients openly brag to their associates how shrewd they were to have hired a “smart Jew,” without ever considering how insulting that might sound. Obviously, they thought it was a compliment. They were proud of their own good sense and judgment to have me on retainer, and I always let it pass.
 
In the final analysis, it doesn’t really matter who’s right in the Israel-Palestine-Hamas-Hezbollah situation, because neither side will ever convince the other. The parties to the conflict make similar claims about themselves and one another:
 
They were on the land first, therefore it belongs to them.
The other side are “occupiers” or “squatters.”
 
The other side is guilty of extreme tactics, killing women and children indiscriminately, and much worse.
 
The other side is responsible for the repression and extreme poverty of the Palestinian and other Arab societies. The Arabs blame the Jews and the Jews blame Arab leaders for keeping their own people poverty stricken so they could continue to divert attention from themselves by fanning the flames of hatred against the Jews.
 
Unfortunately, in my mind, one fact overrides all others: The Palestinians, Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran all unambiguously avow that Israel must be wiped off the map and the Jews driven into the sea. And, they are aided and abetted by most other Arab-Muslim states to a greater or lesser degree: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya, United Arab Emirates, etc., often speaking one way to the world in English while saying the opposite in Arabic to their own people. No matter how much they try to cover up or talk around their openly declared goal of destroying Israel and the Jews, their real intent never changes.
 
It has been going on this way for 64 years, and I expect it will continue thus until long after I am gone.
 
Finally, it is an article of Muslim faith that the Jews and all people of other religious beliefs must be converted to Islam or exterminated, a reality that neither the Jews nor the Christians throughout the world dare ignore.
 
© 2012 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved
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Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Banning Profits
Following the Democratic National Convention in September 2012, a HUMAN EVENTS headline urged “Lets Ban Corporate Profits.”
 
What an amazing statement!
 
Have we finally reached the point where the idea of making a “profit” is no longer acceptable to a large segment of the American population? Especially young people, many of whom have little or no work experience and simply don’t understand the concept.
 
An article by David Harsanyi in September 2012 made the following observations about profit: “At the Democratic National Convention, where one speaker after the next swears they love free enterprise, delegates and attendees (maybe some media, who knows?) were asked by Peter Schiff, posing as an anti-corporate activist, if they would support capping or banning corporate profit…Well, there seems to be plenty of enthusiasm for the idea in Charlotte this week — and not from the fringe. ‘We deliberately avoided speaking with the occupy protestors camping outside in tents to get a more ‘mainstream’ Democratic perspective.’”
 
Merriam-Webster’s Definition of “Profit”:
1: a valuable return: gain
2: the excess of returns over expenditure in a transaction or series of transactions; especially the excess of the selling price of goods over their cost
3: net income usually for a given period of time
4: the ratio of profit for a given year to the amount of capital invested or to the value of sales
5: the compensation accruing to entrepreneurs for the assumption of risk in business enterprise as distinguished from wages or rent
 
Examples of PROFIT
The company made a profit this year.
Profits are up from last year.
There was a rise in profits this year.
The profits from CD sales were donated to charity.
The organization is not run for profit.
The film made $1,000,000 in profit.
The book can be read with profit by anyone who wants to understand how the system works.
 
 
The generally accepted definition of “profit” as “the excess of returns over expenditure in a transaction of series of transactions” seems like a pretty simple concept to me, yet an increasing percentage of Americans, especially the young, appear to have no idea what it means.
 
We have witnessed young people demonstrating to eliminate “corporate profits,” without having the slightest idea what that means.
 
How is it possible to “ban profits” without eliminating the enterprise itself? Somehow that concept seems to escape the understanding of those who are against “profit.”
 
They seem to think that the government can give them anything they want without knowing how and where the money comes from, simply by waving the “magic wand” of wanting something. You want it, ergo you got it, appears to be their motto.
 
What they don’t understand is that without the incentive of earning a profit, no one would be willing to risk their capital or invest their time in establishing and operating any sort of business enterprise.
 
Without doubt, there are many young people who understand the need to work, but far too many of them appear to be completely clueless about why it’s necessary to work and somehow think it’s possible to simply have the goodies they want handed to them by a benevolent society.
 
I’m not sure who to blame for this sad state of affairs. Like most of the elderly, I have worked all of my adult life, starting around the age of 13. I chose a career that required long hours, often 60 hours a week or more. And, I worked for profit, mine and that of those around me, without ever giving it a thought. I “retired” around almost 20 years ago, at the age of 65, but have continued to work part-time as a consultant and advisor and expect to continue as long as I am able.
 
My conclusion is that the attitude of those young people who expect something for nothing is due to a combination of the failure of our education system and parents who don’t see the need to make their children work for their “goodies.”
 
In short, I guess you can color me old fashioned.
 
© 2012 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved
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Friday, November 16, 2012
Communist Pilgrims and Thanksgiving in the Ghetto?
It is Thanksgiving.  Our traditions do not speak about giving thanks to government.  Our forefathers created a unique national tradition whereby we give thanks to God and we remember kindly the Native Americans who saved them from starvation.  Now for a little history lesson and modern day reality check.
 
Most people are not aware that the early pilgrims were socialists!  They crafted their community on the basis of share and share alike!  Well, as is the case in our modern day socialist experiments, the system failed.  It was hard to motivate the less inclined to work if they had a reasonable expectation to share in the bounty regardless of their contribution to the planting and harvest.  Likewise, the most industrious among them became naturally disinclined to work harder than the rest if there was no reward in doing so.  The community as a whole was starving to death as a result.
 
The solution was to carve up the lands and let each family fend for themselves.  The most industrious prospered and others became dependents of the community.  So, what has changed in 400 years?  Not much!
 
I find it incredulous that in ghettos across America, Barack Obama gained nearly 100% of the vote.  It is hard to believe for two reasons.  First, it is hard to believe these neighborhoods are completely devoid of any semblance of political diversity, and second, it is hard to believe these people think Barack Obama and the progressive elite are going to make a difference in their dismal lives.  Democrat President Johnson started the modern welfare program in the 1960's and the only thing that has been accomplished, despite spending trillions of dollars, is the destruction of the family unit, public education and job opportunities in the inner cities of America.
 
We can’t keep doing the same things year after year and expect different results, as that is the very definition of insanity.  It is no secret that the democrats actually work against the best interest of the inner city poor by the policies they promote and the wars they won’t fight with various special interest groups.
 
Democrats will not help inner city kids escape the failed public school system because they are beholden to teacher unions.  Private schools are more successful, cheaper, safer and staffed with better teachers than the average inner city public school.  The right to a good education is a basic civil right!
 
Democrats will not encourage abstention programs, as young girls having babies is the leading poverty indicator, preferring instead to promote abortions and welfare checks.  The cycle of kids being raised without a father must be broken.  It is one of the reasons gangs flourish in the inner city.
 
Democrats will not allow industrial jobs to be created in the inner cities due to their being beholden to environmental groups who are more concerned with overwrought air quality standards as this is more important to them than raising the living standards.  It is impossible to break the poverty cycle without jobs, and high tech jobs are the wrong fit in a community of dysfunctional illiterates where 60% of the kids don’t finish high school and can barely read or write.
 
Andy Caldwell is the Executive Director of COLAB, the host of the Andy Caldwell Show weekdays from 3-5 p.m. on AM1440 and AM1290 and a guest opinion columnist for the Santa Barbara News Press three times per week.  For more information, visit www.colabsbc.org
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Monday, October 22, 2012
Lois Capps Service Built on Trust?
You have heard the saying that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones?  A lesson obviously lost on Congresswoman Lois Capps!
 
Lois Capps has been slamming her opponent Abel Maldonado relentlessly for months because his family’s farming operation has a dispute with the IRS over their tax return.  Abel’s family believes the IRS is wrong and they are suing the IRS accordingly.  Unlike Lois Capps, I will wait to cast stones until after their day in court.
 
In August, residents of the Central Coast learned of Congresswoman Lois Capps’ failure to report more than $40,000 in rental income from her staffer to the IRS for 10 years.
 
But it gets worse…
 
Recently news broke that Capps failed to report over $500,000 of her income.
 
Lois Capps’ actions and statements hardly fit with the “lifetime of service built on trust” she’s made the centerpiece of her campaign.

Capps Failed to Report Over $500K: Representative Lois Capps left more than half a million dollars in income off financial disclosure records for an eight-year period, according to documents required by the clerk of the House of Representatives. – Santa Barbara Independent, 10/16/2012
 
Capps caught again: Congresswoman fails to report over half a million dollars in income: This is not the first time Capps has been in hot water over financial disclosures. In early August, The Daily Caller reported that Capps rented a room in her personal home to one of her congressional staffers, Jeremy Tittle, for years and did not report the income to the IRS for more than a decade, until 2012. Capps also withheld that information from the proper congressional authorities for five years, from 2001 until early 2006. – Daily Caller, 10/18/2012
 
With regard to ballot propositions, I can heartily recommend that you vote NO on all of them, with the possible exception of Prop. 32, which I need to explain.
 
I respect unions too much to tell you to simply vote yes on Prop. 32.  However, I also do believe that unions have a disparate influence on election outcomes and a stranglehold on Sacramento as it affects the real reform we need to get our State going in the right direction once again.
 
Proposition 32 affects the ability of unions to collect money from their members for political purposes without their consent.  If passed, there is a chance that union members themselves would volunteer to forego giving to their own union because they themselves do not agree with the position the unions take in their name and with their money!  Can’t really argue with that. 
 
The California Teachers Association is the worse culprit with respect to this phenomenon.  If Proposition 32 only affected the CTA, I would be walking door to door for your support for Prop. 32!
 
Conversely, I believe that historically union influence overall helps the rest of us in the workplace.  Unions won working conditions, pay standards and rights for all of us and I don’t want to see them crippled entirely!  Because I believe in public safety, I like the fact that public safety unions help keep the pressure on our politicians to fund it accordingly.

Andy Caldwell is the Executive Director of COLAB and the host of the Andy Caldwell Show weekdays from 3-5 p.m. on AM1440.
 
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Tuesday, October 9, 2012
My Analysis and Recommendations on State Ballot Propositions
 I am the Executive Director of COLAB, the Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business of Santa Barbara County.  My main job is to serve as a government watchdog, business and taxpayer advocate, and someone who communicates with the general public on a regular basis via radio shows and editorials in our local newspapers.

 Having said all that, sometimes the opinions I express are my own and not necessarily those of the organization I represent.  Such is the case today, as I am going to share with you my positions on the ballot propositions.

 There are three tax measures on the ballot, Propositions 30, 38 and 39.  I am going to vote no on these because I do not believe low tax rates is what is ailing the State of California.  The fact is California, back before the crash of 2008, was enjoying record revenues coming into state coffers and they spent all that money and more!  California routinely spends more money than it brings in, and truth be told, they are so indebted to government employees for their unfunded pensions, that none of the money generated by these tax measures is really going to create or restore services.  Much of it will go to backfill budgets drained by pension obligations.   Proposition 39 additionally devotes money to alternative energy; we already are spending enough on that!  We need reform, not higher taxes.  Vote No on these measures.

 Proposition 31 is a con job.  It promises reform, but it really is more of an attempt to reorganize government that in the end will reduce accountability to the public.  Hidden in the language of the initiative is the creation of regional forms of government that will make it easier for local politicians to escape culpability from the local electorate.  It will also mandate certain programs that we cannot afford.  Vote No!

Proposition 32 is a tricky one.  This has to do with limiting the influence of unions and corporations on elections.  It does not ban their involvement, but it limits how the money is collected.  On the one hand, I do believe unions in California have a disparate influence on politicians because they donate more money to campaigns than most everyone else combined.  However, on the other hand, courts have recognized the rights of unions and corporations to be involved in campaigns, and have not taken lightly efforts to restrict the same.

 Proposition 33 can be interpreted one of two ways.  It either offers a discount to consumers who maintain continuous insurance coverage or it is justification to raise rates on those who don’t!  The fact that one insurance company is eminently backing this makes me suspicious.  I will be voting no.

 Propositions 34 and 36 seek to abolish the death penalty and amend the Three Strikes law, respectively.  I will be voting no on both of these.  Keeping inmates on death row is not in and of itself expensive.  It is the endless appeals and the costs associated with not executing cold-blooded killers that is causing the bills to pile up!  I believe some crimes deserve the ultimate penalty from society and I believe some people are career criminals who have proven themselves incapable of reformation.  It is sad, but true.  Paying to incarcerate these people for life is exorbitantly expensive and the alternative of letting them out of prison just means more victims.

 Proposition 35 should be defeated.  I am all for throwing the book at sex and human traffickers, however, this bill would require convicted sweat shop owners to be registered as sex offenders?

 Proposition 37 would require genetically modified foods to be labeled as such.  These foods are safe, very common and they represent increased efficiencies, thereby eliminating hunger and the need for pesticides!  Vote no!

 Andy Caldwell is the Executive Director of COLAB and the host of the Andy Caldwell Show weekdays from 3-5 p.m. on AM1440.
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Friday, September 28, 2012
Unanticipated Consequences of Obamacare
The list of the adverse consequences, of Obamacare continues to grow as the administration implements the legislation. Many, if not most of them, were not anticipated by the framers of the legislation in Congress.
Conservatives for Patients Rights (CPR) noted: “Matt Kibbe outlined on Fox News the reasons why he thought repealing Obamacare was possible in 2011: "Support for repeal has gone up since the election. The share of people supporting full or partial repeal has risen from 49 percent in last month’s Kaiser health tracking poll to 59 percent in the Dec. 13, Washington Post poll. And Rasmussen finds that 'Belief in the likelihood of repeal has now edged to its highest level to date' -- 47 percent, up 1 point from the election. Voters want, and expect, repeal."
CPR also reported, “Investor's Business Daily explainshow rationing under Obamacare has already started. ‘One of the blessings of blocking the omnibus spending bill was that it included $1 billion for the implementation of Obamacare. Yet the first effects are still being felt, the latest being the Food and Drug Administration's revoking of regulatory approval of Avastin to treat late-stage breast cancer. The reason given by the FDA was that the drug does not provide 'a sufficient benefit in slowing disease progression to outweigh the significant risk to patients.' What risk? These women are dying.’"

Furthermore, “AllVoices reports that "[t]he International Monetary Fund (IMF), based in Washington, has warned that Canada's Health Care costs are unsustainable. In its report it warns that Canada's Federal and Provincial governments have not been honest about the real costs of universal health care and that costs will swamp budgets in the future. The U.S. Democratic Congress, passed Health Care legislation, labeled Obama Care, with much fanfare in 2009. There were many of Obama's base constituents that were disappointed that a public option was dropped. Based on the IMF's report on Canada, they should perhaps be careful of what they wish for."
 
Investor's Business Daily reported that "[a]mid the Obamacare fiasco, the latest is that physicians will be subject to streams of grubby government spies checking up on their Medicare patient intake. This isn't Eurosocialist care anymore. This is the Soviet Union. In a front-page news story, the New York Times reported that Obama administration officials intend to recruit a team of workplace spies they call 'mystery shoppers' whose task will be to call up U.S. private physicians under false pretenses, fraudulently pose as patients and pry information out of their medical office staff about what kind of payment arrangements these doctors are taking from patients these days. It's the sort of sting operation lawmen normally reserve for suspected criminals."
 
CPR noted: “In commentary in the Washington Times, Alex Cortes and Robin Smith outline the top seven provisions in Obamacare that should be defunded.  "1. The Preventive Services Task Force:This unelected panel of academics has been empowered as the body to govern mandatory preventive services that insurance plans must offer with no cost-sharing with patients. What does that mean? Just one example: If you're a healthy 29-year-old man, your plan is mandated to offer 'one-time screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm by ultrasonography in men aged 65 to 75 who have ever smoked.' Do you know how unlikely it is for you to remain covered by this same plan for almost 40 years? But your plan has to include it at 'no charge,' which in the real world means higher premiums or benefit reductions elsewhere."

The Competitive Enterprise Institute
discussed how the health care overhaul negatively impacts state budgets: "Governors like Phil Bredesen (D-Tenn.) and Donald Carcieri (R-R.I.) warned earlier about the crippling costs of Obamacare to state budgets, but they were ignored by Obama and Congressional Democrats in their headlong rush to pass the health care bill. An adviser to Gov. Bredesen, James Blumstein (a professor of constitutional and health care law at Vanderbilt), argues that Obamacare is a violation of constitutional limits on Congress’s power under the spending clause."
 
In the Orange County Register, Sally Pipes explained how Obamacare hurts doctors in private practice: "The number of privately owned medical practices has declined sharply in the past five years. In 2005, at least two-thirds of practices were in private hands. That figure has dropped today to less than half – and is expected to sink below 40 percent by the end of next year. Many doctors, specifically those who have just completed a resident specialty, now are choosing not to enter private practice in the first place. Instead, they're heading to salaried positions at large hospitals. Last year, 49 percent of first-year specialists chose hospital employment. Obamacare will only exacerbate these trends. Some of the law's dictates will make it more expensive to operate small practices – even though the rules are supposed to reduce medical costs."
 
The Heritage Foundation outlined how Obamacare negatively impacts maternity care: "Individuals seeking maternity coverage in the non-group insurance market are discovering fewer options are available as insurers seek to cut costs to meet the regulatory demands of President Obama’s health care law. Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina dropped the coverage to save costs and keep premiums competitive, and insurers in other states have followed suit. Maternity coverage can be a costly aspect of health insurance because the vast majority of people who purchase it in the individual market plan to have children."
 
© 2012 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved
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Friday, September 28, 2012
Abortion and Welfare Checks Are No Solution to What Ails US of A
Democrats indicate they are committed to fight for the rights of the poor by ensuring economic opportunity and equality by using the power of government to redistribute wealth.   Further, they claim republicans have a laissez faire attitude toward the poor, a “let the best man win” outlook, thereby locking generations of the less fortunate into perpetual cycles of poverty, while the rich get richer.  
 
Republicans, on the other hand, indicate that the most our society can do is offer equality of opportunity, but nobody can realistically guarantee equality of outcomes because so much is dependent upon the individual themselves and the choices they make.
 
I do believe society as a whole is responsible for helping the less fortunate, albeit, in many instances, I believe families, churches and non-profits do a better job at this than our government.  I believe we should help the disabled, those with debilitating illnesses, the elderly, and those who have fallen on hard times and simply need a temporary leg up.
 
When we ask the question who should we be helping, we must consider the fact that some people are simply beyond much help because they are irresponsible.  We can only truly help them once they quit making poor decisions for themselves and their families.
 
Consider the young man who chooses to join a gang instead of the boy scouts.  Consider the teenage girl who wants to get pregnant because she thinks a baby will cement her relationship with her beau.  Consider the drug addict who refuses intervention from his family and our justice  system.  Consider those that suffer from mental illness and refuse to take the medications prescribed and the counseling that has been offered.  Consider the person who would rather panhandle than take a menial job and work himself up the ladder. 
 
We actually spend billions of dollars each and every year in America to help people who make these types of poor choices each and every day.  Here in Santa Barbara County, we spend upwards of $200 million per year to try and convince a few thousand people that there is a better way.  But, despite all the money we throw at these problems, the problems are not going away.  Is this the taxpayer and business communities fault?  Is this phenomenon created because our tax rates are too low?
 
One of the most accurate statements at the Republican Convention that addressed this issue head on came from Rick Santorum.  He rightly pointed out that the three leading indicators of poverty in America have to do with whether somebody finishes high school, whether they are a single parent raising a child out of wedlock (typically very young women), and whether they have a strong work ethic. 
 
The democrats want to blame the republicans for the fact that these problems exists, however, starting with Presidents Roosevelt, on through Presidents Johnson, Carter and now Obama, democrats especially have thrown trillions of dollars at these problems with nothing much to show for it.  At least President Clinton was willing to tie welfare and work together, something that Obama has now once again decoupled.
 
In reality, although the democrats pin their hopes on treating the symptoms of these problems via abortion and welfare checks, they do not have any real solution to high school drop outs, unwed mothers trying to raise a kid on their own, and people who are not willing to do what it takes to earn a living.  At least the republicans aren’t making things worse and engaging in blame shifting and that is a start to addressing the real source of the problems.
 
Andy Caldwell is the Executive Director of COLAB and the host of the Andy Caldwell Show weekdays from 3-5 p.m. on AM 1440
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Friday, September 21, 2012
Labor Pains in America!
By Andy Caldwell

When I was growing up, it was common for kids and others who would normally have a tough time finding a job for a variety of reasons, to go work in the fields.  Whether it was picking grapes or hoeing weeds, people could make some good money working summers.  How things have changed!
 
Kids can no longer work in the fields, due to child labor laws and recently, lawmakers have even considered making it illegal for kids to work on their own family farm.  Is that a good thing for society?  After all, we should not be confusing abusive sweatshop conditions which still exist in third world countries that exploit children against their will, with the topic at hand, summer jobs in America.  Personally, I started earning money for myself when I was 9 years old and haven’t stopped since!
 
Whereas, kids today are scarcely allowed to work, there is a whole lot of people who no longer find it necessary to work, especially in jobs considered arduous or demeaning.  Before the modern day concept of welfare was created, able-bodied  people were expected to take any job they could find or go without aid.  If jobs simply were not available or the person was incapable of working, then government and/or the private sector would step in with some form of relief.  Unfortunately, welfare as we know it has had devastating consequences upon our country’s fiscal welfare and more disturbingly, upon the very fabric of our society as it affects our work ethic.  Welfare has become a permanent way of life for generations of families trapped in a cycle of government dependency.
 
America created what is referred to as the social safety net.  In many cases, the social safety net is a good thing as it helps people to get back on their feet making sure they don’t starve or go homeless in the process.  Welfare payments, subsidized housing, free health care, meal supplements and other considerations pile up for millions of Americans who can’t find work.  However, the system is definitely being abused by some who don’t want to work.  Only in America would various surveys demonstrate that most households under the federal poverty level have television and cable, game consoles, at least one car, a washer and dryer, and of course, a roof over their head.  Compare our standard of poverty with the billions of people in the world who have none of these things, including food for the day.
 
President Obama has managed to accomplish something no other president has been able to do!  His poor handling of our economy has actually served to reverse the immigration trend from Mexico!  For the first time in history, more Mexicans are heading back home than are arriving here because things are actually better in Mexico.  To make matters worse, Obama just ended the Clinton era welfare reform measure that required people to demonstrate they were looking for work in order to get welfare checks, and since Obama extended unemployment benefits, California now owes the federal government nearly $15 billion because we have been borrowing the money we need to meet these obligations.
 
These trends have left several sectors of our economy reeling, including agriculture.  Despite the high unemployment rates, farmers are having a severe labor shortage.  Yet, communities like Lompoc have an unemployment rate hovering around 14%?  Inner cities, across America, have youth unemployment rates around 40%?   With jobs available in the fields, there is no reason for the high unemployment rates in our region, at least with respect to the able-bodied, as work really is available, and our nation needs it fruits and vegetables!
 
Andy Caldwell is the Executive Director of COLAB and the host of the Andy Caldwell Show, weekdays from 3-5 p.m. on AM1440.
Posted at 13:47 PM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)



Thursday, September 13, 2012
We Should Never Abandon The Electoral College
A Sacramento Bee editorial noted, “The way that the United States elects a president is broken, and has been for some time – actually, since the very beginning.”
 
The Bee further observed, “The American people do not directly elect their president. They vote for a slate of ‘electors’ (who are selected by the political parties) to an Electoral College, which then elects the president…it is long past time to elect the president the same way that we elect every other official from governor to senator to school board member – by direct popular vote.”
 
But, should the President of the United States be elected by popular vote?
 
In 1787, as the US Constitution was being drafted in Philadelphia, James Wilson of Pennsylvania proposed direct election of the president. But James Madison of Virginia worried that such a system would hurt the South which would have been outnumbered by the Northern population in a direct election system.
 
Thus the Electoral College was created. It was part of the deal the Southern states in computing their share of electoral votes, could count slaves (under the US Constitution, they were worth two-fifths of a vote), they of course were given none of the privileges of citizenship, (and could not vote....the slave owner voted for them). Virginia emerged as the big winner with more than a quarter of the electors needed to elect a President. A free state like Pennsylvania got fewer electoral votes even though it had approximately the same free population.
 
However, the Constitution had a pro-Southern bias. For 32 of the Constitution's first 36 years, a white slave-holding Virginian occupied the presidency. Thomas Jefferson for example won the election of 1800 against John Adams from Massachusetts in a race in which the slavery skew of the Electoral College was the decisive margin of victory.
 
The system's sex bias was also obvious. In a direct presidential election, any state that chose to enfranchise its women would have automatically doubled its clout. Under the Electoral College, however, a state had no special incentive to expand suffrage....each got a fixed number of electoral votes, regardless of how many citizens were allowed to vote.
 
After the civil war, the USA forgot about questioning the Electoral College system and continued its application in voting. The college favors a two-party system only and has no discretion for third or fourth political parties in an election.
 
So it seems that slavery or remnants of its philosophy is still with us today in the US elections.
 
I disagree. Not only is it not broken, but I submit that the election of our President is functioning exactly as the Founders envisioned it.
 
Reference: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sunday, 12 November 2000, Section E, pages 1 & 4.
 
© 2012 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved
Posted at 13:42 PM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)



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