Letter to the editor… by Mike Holland

By now everyone should have received their flyer from John Olver, prepared, published and mailed at taxpayer expense of course.  This mailer tells us how great nationalized health care will be.  Isn’t that special?  Mr. Olver is spending even more of our money to tell us about something that we are being forced to spend our money on even though we don’t want it and really can’t afford it.

 Poll after poll consistently showed that the majority of Americans didn’t want this nationalized health care legislation before it was passed, and now the majority of Americans want it repealed.  Why do you think that is, Mr. Olver?  Could it be the ensuing taxpayer cost and overall economic burden that will inevitably follow?

 Your flyer claims it will be “deficit neutral” but that’s not what some very credible, non-partisan sources are saying about the cost of Obamacare.

 Last week the CBO updated their analysis and said that an additional $115 billion will have to be spent implementing the new law which increases the overall expense to over $1 trillion.  And this does not include related costs like filling the Medicare “donut hole,” fixing Medicare reimbursement to physicians, and creating a new long-term entitlement program which some say could push the price tag to over $2 trillion.

 The Office of the Actuary from the government’s own Department of Health and Human Services has also done an analysis since HR 3590 was passed.  It says: “We estimate that overall national health expenditures under this bill would increase by an estimated total of $222 billion (0.6 percent) during calendar years 2010-2019.”

 There was more bad news from the administration’s own Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) which released its final cost projections for Obamacare, finding that the legislation will increase national health care spending by $311 billion over the next decade.

 Several corporations have already reported huge write-downs caused solely by the new health care bill. Verizon and AT&T both announced $1 billion write-downs;  Deere & Co. announced a $150 million write-down; Caterpillar, $100 million; AK Steel, $31 million; 3M, $90 million; and Valero Energy, nearly $20 million.

 Mr. Olver, the majority of Americans have realized that when it comes to spending our money, some belt-tightening is in order.  Since you are also spending our money maybe its time for you to try doing the same.

Letter to the Sentinel/Enterprise by Mike Holland

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House Republicans have proposed an idea that might help narrow the US deficit.  The program that was brought to the table and the brain child of Congressman Eric Cantor is called “You Cut” and it is all about cutting down on spending.   This program involves American citizens and asking them to vote on bills that will spend taxpayers money, “Instead of Washington telling you how they will spend your money, YOU can tell THEM how to save it.” Cantor said.

What’s more about the “You Cut” program is that any citizen can add to the list by recommending an area on where the government can reduce its spending. All in all it sounds like a remarkable idea.  The program does not claim that it will be able to bring the deficit down to zero, none of that has been mentioned but the sole aim of it is to reduce spending as much as possible so as to contain the deficit rather than inflating it.

Currently the American government is facing a one and a half trillion dollar deficit which is not small by any measures and so to reduce spending is one way to bring it down but will the house unite on this program or not?”  Posted by US News on May 13, 2010.

Democrats have lashed back in response to this program by saying this is a “gimmick to make the public think Republicans are worried about their welfare”.  The democrats have also stated, “they will accept any budget modifications proposition with substance but will oppose partisan political stunts.”  That kind of response is typical of what we hear from both sides these days…it is all about politics.   But putting politics aside, this program is interesting and could be a step in the right direction.   I give Congressman Cantor credit  for coming up with a program that give the voters input into how they want to see their tax dollars spent. 

 The “You Cut” program was launched in mid May 2010.  How it works is each week, 5 programs will be presented to the public to vote on to either cutting it or don’t cut it.  Citizens can vote by phone, e-mail or internet.  The results of the voting for that week will be posted at the end of the week.  Then the cycle will continue with 5 more programs to vote on each week until the end of the year.  Also citizens can add his/her feedback and suggestions for other programs to consider for budget cuts. 

 Sounds like a good idea?  There are some questions I had like; How will the results be used and will they be acted upon?   These things are not spelled out on the website but I am taking the program for the content it was intended to do, give voters a say in how they want their tax dollars spent.  We all know there is a lot of waste in Government spending and there is a lot of room for cuts.  There are billions of dollars that can be saved if we just cut out unnecessary spending. 

 For the last couple of years more Americans are paying attention and trying to become informed on what is going on in our Government.  But, there is so much happening, too many distractions and too much political spin put on issues from both sides it is difficult to sort through it all.  There are many issues out there today that Americans are clearly split on but majority of Voters agree that our Government needs to “STOP THE SPENDING!”  Those that have been elected by the “people” need to start listening to the “people” and represent the best interest of their country not their political party or personal interest.  “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”.   Americans need to get their “House” in order and take some control over spending by voting now and in November. 

 Check out “You Cut” at http://republicanwhip.house.gov/YouCut/  and cast your vote and give your feedback on how you want your tax dollars spent.   By Kathy Mills

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‘Obama’s Rules for Revolution’ by John Strang

            David Horowitz has performed another service for believers in the Republic by writing a booklet on the influence of Saul Alinsky on Barack Obama (Barack Obama’s Rules for Revolution: the Alinsky Model’ [David Horowitz Freedom Center, Sherman Oaks, California, 2009]). 

            Barack Obama in his relatively young life has been claimed to be an outstanding student, a legal scholar, an insightful author, a statesman of global dimensions, a leader who sees beyond factions and—oh, yes—a community organizer.  Of all these credits the only one that stands up to scrutiny is the last.  Barack Obama acquired his community organizing credentials from a man from Chicago, sociologist Saul Alinsky (1909-1972), who made no secret of his disdain for the American way of life and who dedicated himself to undermining that way of life.

            Horowitz points out that Alinsky professionally came of age in 1930s Chicago—the Chicago of the Gangsters.  Alinsky ‘sought out and became a social intimate of the Al Capone mob’—and indeed called Capone enforcer Frank Nitti his ‘Professor—I became his student’.  This romancing of the low life may recall The Blue Angel—with hapless professorial Emil Jannings falling head over heels for sexy seductress Marlene Dietrich.  But that would be a false parallel.  Alinsky fell for gangsters not out of romance but because in his twisted mind criminals were created by society—i.e., by Capitalism.  ‘In his view, criminality was not a character problem but a result of the social environment, in particular the system of private property and individual rights’.

            Ordinary Americans (those the left disdains as ‘bourgeois’) take for granted the wisdom of Calvin Coolidge, ‘All liberty is individual’.  The radical left rejects this and endorses instead the rejoinder of Communist Betty Glan, ‘Individual justice is a bourgeois concept’. (On the context, see Amity Shlaes, The Forgotten Man, p. 75.)

            As a lifelong teacher of philosophy I have been repeatedly struck by the inability or unwillingness of ordinary Americans to take philosophy seriously.  Yet at root all the problems we face today—and America is in a crisis without parallel in our history—are philosophical.  When Saul Alinsky and his followers reject the American way of life as a system only ‘worth burning’ (Rules for Radicals, p. xiii), for the sake of a set of doctrines that would replace the rule of law by totalitarian norms and organs that would penalize and dispossess ordinary citizens in order (as they would put it) to establish paradise on earth for ‘the downtrodden,’ they are operating on philosophical assumptions. And the philosophy they have opted for is, of course, Marxism.

            As was wisely, succinctly, put years ago, Ideas have consequences—and the left long ago began believing it could implement Marxist ideas in America.  As David Horowitz points out, however, Alinsky did not seek to implement Marxism simply by joining the American Communist Party in the 1930s (which would have meant going underground). Instead, he made the pragmatic assessment that Communism in its institutional forms was too inflexible to be achieved in the United States.  At the same time, he also rejected the open, violent, confrontation of American society undertaken by the student left in the 1960s (Tom Hayden, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin et al.).

            Communism in its institutional forms was too dogmatic and the student left in the 1960s was too confrontational.  Ordinary Americans would not be appealed to be either approach.  Alinsky’s resolution was to unite the various factions of the left—‘progressives’—into a coalition that could eventually seize power by appearing to be non-threatening.  It is true that some of the methods Alinsky proposed skirted the edges of decent behavior, but Chicago after all was—and is—home to ‘thug’ politics, so the approaches he advocated could be made to seem within the mainstream of American political life.  The  method was to make it appear that social problems were being addressed, to integrate into the tradition of non-violent American politics—while at the same time holding to power-acquisition as the true goal.  ‘Alinsky’s followers … insinuat[ed] themselves into Johnson’s War on Poverty …[while at the same time] directing federal funds into their own organizations and causes’; Alinsky gave the impression of acting in the American union-organizing tradition by personally training United Farmworkers head Cesar Chavez; he gave the impression of merely fostering civil rights when called on by activists to pressure Eastman-Kodak on hiring practices—but in doing so, Alinsky essentially set forth the tactical method of racial extortion that was later to be applied so successfully by such well known figures as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

            In view of the success of these relatively non-confrontational methods, such later Democratic Party initiatives as the Community Reinvestment Act—bearing the innocuous-sounding mandate of ‘encouraging commercial banks to meet the needs of borrowers in all segments of their communities’—become more understandable as simply another consequence of Alinsky’s methods.  Need I bring Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, the sub-prime scandal and Fannie & Freddie into the picture? 

            Just as Alinsky was pragmatic in his tactics, so he was pragmatic in formulating his end-goal.  Alinsky and his followers ‘organize their power bases without naming the end-game, without declaring a specific future they want to achieve, … [b]y refusing to commit to principles or to identify their goal, they have been able to organize a coalition of all the elements of the left who were previously divided by disagreements over means and ends’.  (Keep this in mind as a key to understanding the Obama approach to ‘governing’!)   

            Barack Obama never met Saul Alinsky (—his erstwhile rival Hillary Rodham, on the other hand did; she wrote a senior thesis on him and was offered a job in Alinsky’s training school in Chicago; as late as the second Clinton administration she was still raising money for this school and its affiliates).  But Obama in 1986, at age 23, was hired by the Alinsky trainers—the ‘Industrial Areas Foundation’ or IAF—to organize Chicago’s South Side.  His function was to ‘apply Alinsky’s philosophy of street-level democracy’.  Obama subsequently taught workshops on the Alinsky method and—true to Alinsky’s intent—the training manual Obama employed emphasized ‘power’ above all other topics.  It taught that if we (i.e., the radical left) do not seek power, we are cowards, because ‘power is good’ and ‘powerlessness is evil’.  It would be hard to conceive of a more thuggish philosophy—even more cynical than Thrasymachus’ in Plato’s Republic.

            Obama also bought into a collateral Alinsky principle, namely, self-interest.  Not the ‘pie-in-the-sky’ for Alinskyites but self-interest.  Alinsky berated a group of young idealistic students who, when asked about why they were organizing, shouted them and all their idealistic clichés down with the words: ‘You want to organize for power!’  These two associated elements—power and self-interest—actually combined on Barack Obama’s presidential campaign website, where ‘one could see a photo of Obama in a classroom “teaching students Alinskyan methods.  He stands in front of a blackboard on which he has written, ‘Power Analysis’ and ‘Relationships Built on Self-Interest’.”’ Given that Barack Obama has refused permission for any of his college papers to be released to the public, it is interesting to know that his own website, if only inadvertently, offered us an insight into the central topics of his putatively penetrating intellect.  (There is, incidentally, a deep philosophical incoherence in the asserted dominance of ‘power’ and ‘self-interest’ in the Alinsky-Obama model; but let me leave that aside for now.)

            In the decade between his first encounter with Alinsky’s IAF and his election (1996) to Illinois Senate, Barack Obama put his community-organizing skills into political practice by running a voter-registration drive for ACORN-affiliate ‘Project Vote’.  That was in 1991.  Within a couple years he was the main trainer at ACORN’s conferences in Chicago.  In 1995 he was ACORN’s attorney there and pushed through implementation of Illinois’ Motor Voter Law.  This law’s loose requirements led to massive incidents of fraudulent voter registration by ACORN.   When he was eventually elected president, however, Barack Obama claimed he had had almost no connection with ACORN. 

             We have yet to consider the actual content of Saul Alinsky’s infamous book, Rules for Radicals, and how those ‘Rules’ were implemented by Alinsky’s followers, including the present incumbent of the White House.  This is a topic for a future newsletter.

                                                                                      –John Strang

 (John Strang, a 1984 Ph.D. in philosophy from Boston University, has taught at various colleges and universities in New England and, from 1987 to 1994, served as executive director of the Boston Conservatives Society.)

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