Negotiating Healthcare with Leverage

Front Page, National Scene, Opinion/Editorial

     

Creative Commons photo

 

     In a recent tweet, President Trump said, “If ObamaCare is hurting people, & it is, why shouldn’t it hurt the insurance companies & why should Congress not be paying what public pays?” Good question: Why, indeed?

     Under Obamacare’s regulation, medical costs have risen sharply, and insurance companies have been subsidized by government to offset the rising cost. Even with the government subsidy, insurance companies have been leaving the Obamacare exchanges. Eliminating the insurance subsidy would certainly hurt the insurance companies, but it would also hurt the people they serve. Therefore, hurting the insurance companies seems unlikely, but why should Congress not pay what the citizens pay?

     The short answer was provided by George Orwell more than seventy years ago in his book Animal Farm. A sign was posted that said, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” Congress believes they are more equal than the people they are supposed to serve. Congress believes it is above the law. It is that simple, but is it legal?

     In 2013, Obama allowed Congress to classify themselves as a small business, making them eligible for the small business exchange, where they receive an employer contribution through the Office of Personnel Management. This has often been referred to as the Congressional exemption to Obamacare. Clearly this exemption is unconstitutional because Congress is not a small business, and Congress did not appropriate funding for their subsidy from the Office of Personnel Management. Without the small business classification, Congress would have been directed onto the individual exchange which prohibits an employer contribution. More importantly Congress would have had to pay for their insurance like everyone else. There would have been no taxpayer subsidy for Congress.

     To qualify as a small business under Obamacare, an employer must have less than fifty employees. Congress has thousands of employees so the entire scam is based on fraud. Clearly President Trump could end the scam by instructing the Office of Personnel Management to eliminate the employer contribution for Congress. Taking such action would provide an incentive for Congress to address healthcare honestly and would be a move in the right direction with regards to “draining the swamp.”

     It remains to be seen if President Trump will take this action, but mentioning it has caused considerable discussion in Congress. Democratic Senator Chris Murphy used twitter to respond, “This is a clear threat to Congress: pass my health bill or as punishment I will end health care for you, your staff, & your constituents,” Murphy tweeted. Of course, Murphy is lying. There was no threat to end his healthcare. The threat was to make him pay for it. Murphy added moments after, “I would argue this is a very serious moment. President making personal threats to us and our constituents if we don’t pass his bill.” Clearly Senator Murphy does not understand President Trump’s use of leverage. Perhaps President Trump should have responded, “It is not a threat; it is a promise.”

     Not all responses were negative. Representative Ron DeSantis said, “I think the president would be absolutely within his rights to cancel the Obama rule (congressional exemption) that conferred this subsidy on Congress.” DeSantis also said killing the exemption would give lawmakers an incentive to get a health care plan approved. DeSantis is not alone.  Several Republicans have been criticizing the provision for years.

Congressman Ron Desantis  (Creative Commons photo)

     From the lack of congressional action on healthcare, it should be clear that Congress has no intention of repealing Obamacare even though they have been promising to do so for seven years. However, President Trump appears to be sincere in his desire to resolve the issue and has not given up despite having to deal with the pathetically inept and deceitful Congress. Congress would like to move on to tax reform, but President Trump has not finished negotiating on healthcare. In fact, the White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway said, “The president will not accept those who said it is, quote, time to move on.”

Creative Commons Photo

     The President has a leverage in the congressional exemption for Obamacare, and he is not likely to give it up easily. Consider this quote from President Trump’s book The Art of the Deal. “The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it. That makes the other guy smell blood, and then you’re dead. The best thing you can do is deal from strength, and leverage is the biggest strength you can have. Leverage is having something the other guy wants. Or better yet, needs. Or best of all, simply can’t do without.” Congress wants the Obamacare exemption but President Trump controls it.

Until next time…

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Fake News, Real Problems

Flour Bluff, Front Page, National Scene, Opinion/Editorial

 

     April 15th, 2017—One hundred and five years after the RMS Titanic sank into the North Atlantic, it was the integrity of our democratic republic that took on water.  While the streets of Northern California are not lined with icebergs, the story reported over the weekend shared one of their fundamental qualities.  The majority of what threatens the future of our nation took place beneath the surface of mainstream media pools.

     The scene in Berkeley, California, was widely covered.  Groups of anti-Trump protesters marched on Tax Day in an effort to influence the President to release his tax returns.  Pro-Trump supporters hosting a “Patriots Day” march clashed with their counterparts outside Martin Luther King, Jr. Civic Park.  Violence ensued.  Police watched from a distance before making arrests and confiscating weapons.

     Most media outlets have simplified the story as one between the Anti-Trumpers and the Pro-Trumpers.  While the catalyst combs a golden coif, the cancer that could kill this country was inherited generations ago.  Make no mistake: this was an ideological battle staged between the far-right and the far-left.  Or more specifically, that of anti-fascists versus white nationalists.

     Demonstrators donning Make America Great Again caps performed Nazi salutes.  Anti-Semitic standards waved as war flags.  Dozens of banners painted with symbols of the alt-right were proudly paraded. And in case the subtlety of throwing bagels at anti-protesters missed its mark, recruitment fliers were passed out preaching the notion that America belongs to the white race.  Their outnumbered counterparts came dressed in black.  And if the video footage is to be believed, the black-clad Anti-fascists did not win the day.

 

     Let it be said that the majority of Trump supporters do not sympathize with such hate-mongering. The bigger concern should be that the bloodshed was not spontaneous; it was premeditated.  Two groups of people came together with the sole intention of harming the other over ideological differences.  Combatants brandished shields and helmets, sticks and knives.  Peaceful protest was eschewed for Medieval Times.

     Our nation was built on the bedrock of free speech.  However, the moment we ignore laws meant to protect fellow Americans in defense of free speech, we have started down a slippery slope.  Similar conflicts have sprung up in the past month in towns like Salem and Huntington Beach.  Taken together these represent the first stones cast under the shroud of political protest.  There will be more.  As Mark Twain reminds us, “History does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes.”  Martin Luther King, Jr. Civic Park set the stage for the bloodiest clash thus far.  Irony will be our only reprieve if we are not vigilant in preventing future spectacles.  Our common enemy lies not in the far-left or the far-right.  It is born out of violent, organized civil unrest.

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Constitutional Convention Dangerous to Liberty

Front Page, Government and Politics, National Scene, Opinion/Editorial

There is a movement in the Texas Legislature to add Texas to the list  of states calling for a constitutional convention. Two-thirds, or 34  states have to call for this in order for the convention to take  place. They are getting very close to the required number. Some people are calling for amendments to our Constitution adding term limits for  members of Congress; some are calling for a balanced budget.

I am totally against this convention, and here is why.

1. The people making up the convention will come from all 50 states.  They are not all going to be freedom-loving, pro-Second Amendment  conservative folks like you and me. Some of them are going to be liberal, progressive globalists. Can we really trust all of these people with our beloved Constitution?

2. Nothing says they have to stick to one or two topics. In fact, it could turn into a runaway convention and our whole Constitution could be scrapped for a different one. I have seen copies of proposed constitutions. No God-given rights or the Second Amendment are included.

3. Our Constitution is not broken. It does not need fixing. Our elected representatives need to follow the one we have.

4. If we did add a balanced budget amendment, just how would it work?  If the budget was not balanced, how would they balance it? My guess would be by raising taxes or chopping away something. Who knows what they would do, or how it would be worded?

If you agree with me that the constitutional convention is a dangerous idea, call your state representatives and let them know you don’t want
Texas added to the list of states calling for it. Your liberty just might depend on it.

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Why We Must Put America First

Government and Politics, National Scene, Opinion/Editorial

     “In case of emergency, oxygen masks will drop down in front of you.  Please pull the mask down toward your face and place the mask over your mouth and nose.  If you are traveling with a child, please attend to yourself first, then the child.  Breathe normally, adjust the headband to suit yourself.”

      One would think that these instructions given just before take-off on commercial airliners would not be necessary.  Doesn’t this make perfect sense to all on board?  Actually, it doesn’t.  It is the natural inclination of a parent to put the child first in emergency situations.  In this case, it can be hazardous for the child and the adult.  The stronger, more capable person must tend to herself in order to be able to meet the needs of the child. This is also true of family caregivers.  Multiple reputable studies prove repeatedly that people who take care of chronically ill patients or loved ones often fall victim to physical, mental, and emotional problems of their own.  Some even die as a result of failing to put their own health first.

     When President Donald Trump said in his inaugural speech, “From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first,” some people went berserk.  These folks, like the parent on the plane receiving the instructions for survival, can’t make sense of what he is saying.  Trump never said we wouldn’t help people of other nations.  He simply understands the truth.  We cannot help anyone until we make ourselves great again.  If we continue down the path we are on, our health as a nation will fail, and we will be of no use to anyone – not even ourselves.

     This desire to put our country first is not selfish or sinful.  Actually, what Trump is doing is what we’re taught in Scripture. In 1 Timothy 5:8, failure to take care of our own is sinful: “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” Are we not an American “family”?  Is our leader not obligated to take care of his own family first?  Who would want a president who doesn’t put his own country first?  If the United States of America is to be healthy enough to help the less fortunate at home and abroad, then we must put America first and make her great again.

(Click here for more on the Rabbi Hillel quote.)
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Fakes, Lies and Propaganda

Front Page, National Scene, Opinion/Editorial

     

Image result for russia controls presidential election

     The election is more than a month behind us, and the Democrats still cannot accept the fact that they ran a lousy candidate and lost.  They have had a long list of excuses and have blamed nearly everything except climate change, but I am sure they will get around to climate change once they make the connection.  For now, they have settled on Russian hackers and fake news as the culprits.  It seems to them that the Russians hacked the emails of John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee, and then circulated the emails via WikiLeaks creating “fake news.”  Everyone now knows this is the gospel truth because the Washington Post reported it, and they claimed that they got the story first hand from an unnamed CIA operative.  The rest of the mainstream media has picked up the story, and even Brian (the liar) Jennings is reporting it on MSNBC.  It has almost reached the level of “settled science.”

     Like climate change, there are still a few skeptics who do not believe it is settled science.  Some have been so bold as to suggest that if the CIA had the evidence suggested by the Washington Post story, wouldn’t someone be arrested, extradited or subjected to banking restrictions and sanctions?  My old friend Sam, a former NSA snoop, has suggested that this is merely a double fake, sort of like a double reverse in football.  He explains that the fake Russian hacking story was created to give credibility to the fake news narrative.  I told him that I thought that it would be very bold to create a big lie to cover a colossal lie, and he suggested that I think about it.

     I did not know what my friend Sam meant at first, but after some thought, I recalled the propaganda technique known as the “big lie.”  Adolph Hitler coined the expression in his book Mein Kampf.  His idea was that honest people tell small lies in small matters, but they would be too ashamed to tell a big lie.  So they would never believe that anyone would be bold enough to fabricate a big lie.  Therefore, they would believe the big lie.  When you think of it, this whole “Russian Hack/Fake News” episode smacks of a colossal lie, so maybe Sam is on to something.

     I did have another thought about lies.  I recall very well that my mother tried very hard to teach me not to lie.  She said if you tell one lie then you are bound to tell another lie when the first lie is found out.  I did not quite understand at the time, but I later found out, and so did she.  Since then, I tell mostly small lies in small matters.

     So as the Democrats cast about for an excuse for their failure, it is interesting to note that George Washington said, “It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.”

 

Until next time…

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The Wisdom of Joe Biden

Front Page, National Scene, Opinion/Editorial

     With the 2016 election behind us, we have seen our last political commercial for a while, and I know some are saddened by the thought; however, few would deny that this has been an election for the record book, and for those paying attention, many would admit that we have a serious problem with political corruption.  At the time of this writing, it may be accurately said that Hillary Clinton is the poster child for corruption, but the truth is far worse.  In this election cycle, corruption has been uncovered at all levels.  There is corruption in the White House, State Department, IRS, VA, FBI, EPA, and the Department of Justice to name some of the more deserving.  So where do we go from here?  What can citizens do to remedy this?

     Good questions all, but where do we start? Most corruption can be traced to money and political influence, and this is not a new problem.  By 100 B.C. the corrupt Roman Senate was being bribed by foreign governments.  In fact, our founding fathers knew this. Our founding fathers had also experienced British corruption first hand.  That is why the Constitution prohibits accepting money from foreign governments in Article I, Section 9, and Congress extended the prohibition to spouses with the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act.  Oddly, no one remembered this law when Hillary was in the Senate – or when Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation were taking money from foreign governments.

 

     It is not just foreign governments that purchase influence.  Often domestic businesses, lobbyist and other special interest purchase influence, and most elected representatives just accept it.  It is the way of life in Washington, D.C.  To guard against corruption, our elected officials are required to file financial statements, and the financial statements are reviewed by watch-dog organizations, but this has not impacted corruption greatly.  Just ask the Clintons.

      Politicians often make a big deal of providing their tax returns or their opponent not providing their tax return (Donald Trump).  While tax returns may be helpful, they are merely a snapshot of one year, and yes, I agree that it is interesting to see that Bill Clinton donated his used underwear to charity and took a deduction for it.  I do not agree that it is sufficient to detect corruption.  (Okay, maybe in Bill’s case.) After all, that is not the purpose for which a tax return is intended.

     The underwear deduction is laughable, but the Clinton’s corruption is not.  Consider this.  When the Clintons left the White House, Hillary claimed that they were dead broke.  Now after eight years in the Senate and serving as Secretary of state, the Clintons are worth 115 to 120 million dollars.  You can almost smell the corruption.  I am certain Hillary did not earn that kind of money as a senator.  However, her situation is not unique.  Politicians find ways to enrich themselves, and they improve their enrichment schemes with experience.

     Some will remember that Spiro Agnew resigned from the Vice Presidency in 1973 after he was charged with tax fraud and bribery.  He had accepted more than $100,000 while serving as Baltimore County Executive in Maryland.

     Carroll Hubbard a career politician and representative from Kentucky was indicted for misusing government property in 1992. In 1994 he pleaded guilty to three felony charges of violating federal campaign spending rules, conversion of federal property, theft and obstruction of justice. He was sentenced to three years in federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas, and fined $153,794.  Being one not to let his experience go to waste, in 2005, Hubbard ran for office in the Kentucky Senate, losing by only 58 votes. He lost again in 2008.

     Randy “Duke” Cunningham, a congressman from San Diego, California, sat on the House subcommittee that designates spending to certain defense programs, and after 14 years of experience, he resigned from Congress in November 2005 after pleading guilty to bribery. He admitted taking bribes of at least $2.4 million – the highest known amount a congressman has ever admitted to taking.  Cunningham was sentenced to eight years in federal prison and ordered to pay $1.8 million in restitution.

     James Traficant, a congressman from Ohio with 17 years of experience was convicted of ten felonies including bribery, tax evasion and racketeering.  He was kicked out of Congress in 2002.

      It is not my purpose to suggest that corruption is rampant, but rather it is a serious problem that deserves a serious solution.  Perhaps the simplest answer to corruption is term limits.  This would at least minimize the risk because the longer a politician remains in Washington, D.C. the more power the politician attains.  With more power concentrated in the politician’s hand, the greater the temptation there is to use that power for financial gain.  That is why Lord Acton said that, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  I am well aware that it is argued, that once a politician gains a little experience in Washington, D.C., you should return the politician to Washington, D.C. to take advantage of that experience.  That is exactly what all politicians claim.  I can only say that approach has gotten us where we are.

     Experience is not a guarantee of improved performance.  Experience simply means that you have done a task repeatedly.  It does not mean you have gained a particular knowledge or insight.  It can be said that a person flipping burgers for twenty years has twenty years of experience, but it might be more accurate to say the person had one year of experience flipping burgers twenty times.  The point is that experience is not an indication of intellectual gain.  In Washington, D.C., experience can be a negative.

     Washington, D.C. has a corrupting effect, and that corrupting effect over time often offsets the benefits gained by experience.  What is needed in Washington, D.C. is honest people of integrity who represent their constituents and nothing more.  Politics should not be a career path.  Representatives should serve their constituents for a limited term, and then return home to their careers.

     It is worthy to note that in absolute terms, “Corruption is just another form of tyranny,” so said Joe Biden.

 

Until next time…

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“Live from New York, It’s Saturday Night!”

Front Page, Government and Politics, National Scene, Opinion/Editorial

   

Obama

     There was a time when people thought parody was funny, but now I am not so sure.  For example, in the recent sketch of President Obama meeting with President-elect Trump for the first time, it appeared to me as if President Obama could not quite remember his lines, could not force a smile, and finally just resorted to a grimace.  It did not make me laugh.  The material was just not funny.  I kept thinking to myself President Obama should say, “My legacy, my legacy, please save my legacy.”  Now, that would have been funny, but all we got were big ears and a grimace.

     I have come to understand since that President Obama just doesn’t understand parody.  In fact, it is one of the words he will not say, kind of like his not being able to say “Muslim terrorist.”  In Germany recently, President Obama referred to parody as fake news, and at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he took the opportunity to blast “fake news.”  He said, “If we are not serious about the facts and what’s true and what’s not, if we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems.”  I think this was another lame attempt at parody because he has never been one to concern himself with facts or serious arguments.  Some claim that “fake news” will be his only lasting legacy.

     Many will recall the “fake news” story he created in 2012 to confuse the facts surrounding the Benghazi massacre.  You know the one, where President Obama and his minions claimed the attack on the American Embassy was caused by a YouTube video.  Ironically the video he referred to was parody, but I do not think he got the humor.  Of course, we heard the story for weeks on end, and we have not yet had an honest report on the matter.

     Who could forget the memorable line so eloquently spoken by President Obama, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”  That was fake news at its finest.  Every time I hear that often repeated line, I visualized the minister of propaganda in Nazi Germany.  In fact, the whole “fake news” campaign is Nazi-esque.  It appears to be reverse propaganda designed to regulate the unregulated social media.

     Everyone will remember the fake story of how paying $400 million to the Iranians to free American military hostages was not ransom.  The fact that an unmarked plane was used to deliver the unmarked bills is irrelevant we are told.  While the unmarked plane and unmarked cash may be irrelevant, it does not make for good parody.  If the unmarked plane had delivered monopoly money, that would have been funny.  The president just does not get it.

     Oddly President Obama’s interest in fake news comes at a time when social media platforms are being criticized for carrying fake news stories.  Claims have been made that fake stories helped to elect Donald Trump.  Mark Zuckerberg the co-founder of Facebook initially called that idea “crazy”, but he has since reversed his stance.  Zuckerberg has now outlined measures to help prevent fake news from being shared on Facebook (pronounced fakebook).  Sources tell me that Zuckerberg would never have claimed it was “crazy” if he had not been late opening his emailed instructions form George Soros.

     It is probably just me, but I think freedom of the press means “freedom of the press.”  While social media platforms have a right to control what is on their site, the government and President Obama have no roll in interfering with freedom of the press.  Given that President Obama’s administration is riddled with fake news, I find it ironic that he now wants to put a stop to it.  Perhaps it is just another lame attempt at parody, and President Obama is pretending to be the Ayatollah of Iran.

     All I can say for sure is that it has been a long eight years, and every time I have had the misfortune of watching the news, I kept wishing that someone would step forward and say, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday night!”

Until next time…

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A Time for Healing

Front Page, Government and Politics, National Scene, Opinion/Editorial

Image result for man scratching head + commons

     The longest presidential campaign in my memory has come to an end, and I am grateful. Pundits and pollsters are scratching their heads and wondering how it happened.  I would like to say to them that you are bunch of ignorant hicks who are out of touch with the good citizens of the United States of America, but I will not.  While it could be true, now is not the time for crowing.  Now is a time for healing.

     Over the last eight years, the division in our country has weakened the fabric of society.  Much like an old pair of Levis, the denim is frayed at the seams and the knees are soft, white and transparent.  It will take a delicate hand if they are to be mended.  But mended they must be.

     Over the last eight years, I have often thought about the slogan “hope and change.’  Like many Americans, in the early days, I remained hopeful that President Obama would unite the citizens of this great country, but that hope was soon ground beneath the heal of the community organizer.  Hope was quickly lost and the coming change was far worse than anything I had seen before.  At every opportunity, the presidential influence was used to divide the nation’s citizenry and to pit one group against the other.  Looking back it saddens me, but I am determined to look forward with newfound hope.

     It is easy in victory to look at the vanquished, and merely say “I won.” But, salting the wounds does not promote healing, and we must heal if our nation is to survive.  The election results clearly indicate that the citizens of our nation do not want to continue down the same stony path of division.  Therefore, it is incumbent on the victors to promote healing, to reach out, to lift up and to enlighten those bound to the path of division with truth rather than emotion.  It is not an easy task, but true enlightenment is the only way to unite a people and preserve the blessing that is freedom.

     The task is daunting, the path is long, but as my friend Bill Pruett often said, “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”

 

Until next time…

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You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too

Front Page, National Scene, Opinion/Editorial

     I know very well that clichés are considered poor form and should be avoided like the Wicked Witch of Chappaqua, but is it necessarily so? Clichés are said to be overused, and I agree.  They are overused because they are economical, because they flow freely, and because they retain meaning.  Contrary to the opinion of my betters, it is not meaning that is lost in clichés, but rather the impact of the cliché is lost with overuse.  The words after all have not changed meanings.  However, I am not arguing for the greater use of clichés in writing.  I, like many others, find clichés to be trite and overused.  I am just suggesting that the prudent use of clichés is all right with me.  For example, consider the meaning of the expression, “Silence is golden.”

     Do you imagine that Hillary Clinton wishes she had remained silent in July, instead of saying, “Comey has exonerated me”?  Is she now speaking from the other side of her mouth when she says, “Comey is undermining our republic”?  Can she have her cake and eat it, too?  Can she take a swim and not get wet?  Can she keep the barrel full and still be drunk?

     It appears odd to me that somehow Hillary claims James Comey is undermining our republic.  It is a bold claim, but what is the truth?  It may be easier to understand the situation with an example.  Imagine that the local police received a tip on a drug dealer.  Acting on the tip, the police begin to investigate and find evidence supporting their case.  According to Hillary, the police should call a press conference and provide the public with the evidence.  What the police actually do is provide the evidence to the county attorney, who reviews the evidence, and decides if there is enough evidence to prosecute the case.  The public has no right to see the evidence before the trial.  Hillary has merely got the cart before the horse, and her claim is absurd.

     Now Hillary has expressed a concern that the FBI investigation is interfering with politics, and her concern has found footing with the Washington Post.  On Saturday, the Washington Post reported that Comey poses a threat to the, “Long-standing and well-established traditions of limiting disclosure of ongoing investigations.”  It is feared that this might influence the election.  But Comey’s back is against the wall.  He is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.

     If Comey failed to report that he had reopened the investigation, wouldn’t his lack of reporting favor Hillary?  To be sure, Hillary would think his silence golden, but could Comey bask in the golden rays of silence knowing his inaction was influencing politics?

     It seems to me that Comey would have been better served if he had remained silent in July, and Hillary would not have been claiming, “Comey has exonerated me.”  Hindsight is always 20/20.  However, since he opened the can of worms in July, it was incumbent on him to report the change in his investigation.

     If Hillary actually wanted the transparency she now claims that she wants, she would not have set up a private server and deleted the emails in the first place.  Hillary you can’t have it both ways.

     With regards to clichés, perhaps William Safire was correct, “Last, but not least, avoid clichés like the plague.”

Until next time…

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Ghosts, Ghouls and Goblins

Front Page, Government and Politics, National Scene, Opinion/Editorial
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BRANCO © 2016

     As Halloween quickly approaches, my thoughts often turn to the quaint days of my youth. A hobo costume was always popular, and candy was plentiful.  My favorite was always the popcorn balls that were made by Mrs. Motes.  I would go to her house more than once, and I would trade candy for popcorn balls from other children.  Although adults did not dress in costumes much in those days, one neighbor would dress as a witch and served candy with apple cider.  Unfortunately, times have changed; popcorn balls and apple cider would now be considered suspicious, and a hobo costume – well – it just wouldn’t be very popular.

     Halloween costumes have become a big business, not only for children, but for adults as well. Sure there are the usual ghost, ghouls and goblins, but through the years, movie themed costumes have greatly impacted the market.  Star Wars costumes are particularly popular this Halloween season, as they have been in the recent past.  Horror movies still have a great influence, and the Jason character is readily available for those wanting a darker character.  Also, politicians have become popular Halloween characters.  I am not sure why.  It could be that they are often horrible, scary people, or on the other hand, they are ridiculous to the point of being funny.  Either way, you can be Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump.  Obama has fallen out of favor, and some say that it is because of his big ears.  I do not think it is because of his ears myself.  I believe after nearly eight years of his policies, he is just too scary.  (Nobel Peace Prize winner, my arse.)

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     One surprising political costume this year is the Chairman Mao suit. Mao has been out of favor for many years.  You may recall the Beatles famous refrain, “If you go carrying picture of Chairman Mao, you’re not gonna’ make it with anyone anyhow.”  Even so, he is back this Halloween.  I guess some people have forgotten the 15 to 45 million people he killed, mostly through famine with his Great Leap Forward, while leading the Chinese Communist Party.  At any rate, he is once again center stage as a fashion icon.  Hillary Clinton is sporting the new Mao costume, and I have it on good authority that she secretly admired Chairman Mao and not only for his fashionable taste.

hillary-mao-costume

     I do not think the Mao look will greatly disguise Hillary or her ambition, but perhaps it is like Zig Ziglar said, “You cannot climb the ladder of success dressed in the costume of failure.”

Until next time…

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