Examiner Shorts: February 2010

A Deal with Tyranny


Joan R. Neubauer

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Benjamin Franklin, 1766

I don’t get it. As Americans, we enjoy more freedoms than anywhere else in the world, but over the past few decades, that has slowly changed. Since the birth of our nation, millions of our brave men and women have fought to protect our freedoms, and a million have made the ultimate sacrifice. Yet, we stand to lose more of our liberty with each new piece of legislation that this administration manages to jam through Congress. We see it happening before our eyes, yet we stand paralyzed, as though watching a train wreck, knowing that something terrible is about to happen but can’t look away. We watch, rooted to the spot, feeling completely helpless to stop what we see as inevitable.

This administration, so filled with hubris, has taken it upon itself to govern through Executive Orders and a fawning Congress. Not only have they ignored the other point of view, but have shut the opposition out of the process completely. I wonder when it actually happened. When did Congress give up its power? When did they allow the Executive to rule by decree? When, pray tell me, did the courts begin legislating from the bench, and why did the Congress allow it to happen? When did Congress abdicate their role as one of the checks and balances that we’ve heard so much about?

They have put aside the Constitution and have taken on the role of a Santa Claus motivated by power and greed. The more goodies they can hand out to more people, the more secure they feel in their power and subsequently, the more freedoms they take from us. Sadly, too many of us willingly trade freedom for a kind of security that in reality makes us far more vulnerable to the whims of the powers that be.

While Congress quietly works on putting together a reconciled version of the healthcare reform bill behind closed doors and without benefit of any input from Republicans, they think, they hope, they pray, that we’ve totally forgotten about healthcare, cap and tax, and other bills still lurking in the dark corners of Congress.

Stand up, America, and stop the train wreck. Get involved. Defend your rights with your words, your logic, your phone calls, your emails. Remind your representatives that while you belong to the other half of the country that did not vote for this administration, they still represent you. And make it clear, that next time around at the ballot box, the vote could very easily go the other way.


Primary Colors


Joan R. Neubauer

On March 2, we Texans will head to the polls to do our civic duty and vote in this year’s primary elections. As our election system is set up, regardless of our party affiliation, we can vote in either the Republican or the Democrat primary, but only one of them. But as you enter the polling place, don’t automatically head for the table with your party in big bold letters. Just wait a minute to consider.

Whether we send the good ol’ boys back to Washington or new blood into the fray comes down to the choice of the People who vote. However, don’t forget about your local races. While things going on in Washington are very important, issues on the local level can have a profound effect on you, your family, and your community. For example, we here in Brewster County have an interesting contest going on.

Our current county judge, Val Beard, has served in that position for the past sixteen years. She’s done an exceptional job of keeping our property taxes among the lowest in the state and updating our infrastructure. She’s an attorney, and so has a working knowledge of the law. In addition, she understands the issues farmers and ranchers face, as she has been involved in agriculture for the last 37 years. Her opponent, also a Democrat, has no such knowledge or experience.

Perhaps you see a similar situation in your part of the country. If you do, think very carefully before you go to vote in this primary. Read all you can. Learn all you can. Ask yourself, “Which one of these contests will have the most profound effect on me and my family?”

Then consider, “Which one will have more influence on my community?”

Once you answer these questions for yourself, go into your polling place and step over to the table with the party designation you feel most appropriate for you to vote in. And never, ever think that your vote serves no purpose or doesn’t count. I’m the queen of one-vote victories. I once won the office of precinct chair with a single write-in vote. Perhaps I’ll share that story with you sometime.

Then on March 2, go to the polls. Arm yourself with information. Let your conscience guide you. Then cast your vote for the best candidate who will preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and our rights as Americans.


Get out the Popcorn


Joan R. Neubauer

Oh, my dear. Don’t worry your pretty little head about it. You should just let the men folk take care of this for you.”

That attitude makes me bristle beyond description, and believe it or not I still encounter it from time to time. However, when Congress says such a thing, it really gets me nervous. Now, no one in Congress has so much as whispered those words, but their actions over these past weeks have screamed it.

The Democrats have taken their 2,000-page healthcare bill and locked themselves behind closed doors to pound out an agreement that will work for everyone—except themselves. They’ve exempted themselves from it. They’re taking no input from the Republicans and none from the people they purport to represent. Of course they all got an earful back in August and over the Christmas holiday, but they’re ignoring all of it. Apparently, they’re also ignoring the Constitutional concerns many have put forward and have taken a “damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead” mentality.

In their hubris, they’ve taken President Obama’s socialist agenda and have decided to run with it, despite the wishes of their constituents. They either consider themselves secure in their positions or they don’t care. Now, these people are not stupid, so it leads me to wonder about their motivation.

Of course it’s possible that they really believe they’re doing the right thing. I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt. Or, more likely, someone has bought and sold enough of them with a deal too good to be true. We’ve all heard about the Louisiana Purchase, the sweetheart deal for Nebraska, and the exemption for labor unions, but I wonder about some of the other pork that we might find hidden among the many, many clauses of this bill. I guess they figure that’s one way to get the voters to accept something to their detriment.

I don’t think it takes a genius to get a reading of the political landscape to know that if this bill passes, pork or no pork, the American people will reject this healthcare reform bill as well as anyone who voted for it. So get out the popcorn and prepare to get comfortable in your favorite chair, because watching the election returns on November 2 will prove quite entertaining.


Head ‘em up—Hurd ‘em out!


Joan R. Neubauer

On Monday, February 8, Will Hurd, candidate for the 23rd Congressional District came to Alpine to address his potential constituents. As usual, I showed up early—I always show up early for things—and luckily had the opportunity to talk with the candidate before the meeting started.

Though he has attained the ripe old age of 32, I found him most articulate, knowledgeable, and insightful. Will Hurd has a contagious smile and a way about him that makes people feel comfortable. He listened to what I had to say and I believed what he said because it truly seemed to come from his heart. The man has core values much like my own.

An A&M graduate with a degree in computer science, he unabashedly says he loves this country and our Constitution. He has served 9 ½ years as a CIA Operations Officer in Afghanistan and other parts of South Asia defending and protecting both, now he wishes to serve in Congress.

He stands for life, the 2nd amendment, national security, and strengthening our borders. He understands, first-hand, the terrorist threat our country faces and knows we must make defense against it a priority. Refreshingly, he admitted when he didn’t know something and promised to look into it further, as when someone brought up the war on drugs.

I came away from the meeting with a yard sign and the feeling that I could, in all good conscience, vote for Will Hurd in the primary and in November. Can he win in the primary? Sure. Can he beat Ciro Rodriguez in November? Absolutely. In fact, I think he will. All he needs to do is continue to be himself. He connects with people and so will his message.


The Green Police


Joan R. Neubauer

About 106.5 million people watched this year’s Superbowl along with a myriad of clever, funny, and thoughtful commercials. I plead guilty. I didn’t leave the room during the ads, hoping to laugh at another outrageous presentation. However, I found no humor in Audi’s “Green Police” commercial. While some may have seen it as satire or a way to make a point for the eco soundness of Audi vehicles, I saw it as a depiction of what our society has waiting for us just around the bend.

When the man chose plastic for his groceries at the check out counter, the green police immediately arrested him and hauled him off to jail. When the gentleman admitted to installing incandescent light bulbs in front of his house, they likewise cuffed him and shuffled him off. Big Brother always stood at the ready, waiting for some infraction of the green laws that governed society.

In the past thirty years, our society has grown so sensitive to environmental issues that for many, it’s become a religion. They zealously preach from the pulpits provided by the White House, the UN, and mainstream media, policies which place the environment on an equal level with God. They sacrifice all, including freedom and economic growth at the altar of Gaia.

If this administration continues down its current path, not only will this healthcare reform bill pass, but Cap and Trade will quickly follow. Estimates place the cost of this energy bill at up to $4 billion. Gee, I wonder where that additional money will come from. You can bet the American people will get the tab for it. We’ll find ourselves taxed at the highest rates ever and unemployment levels will rise still further.

But they’ll not only hit us in our wallets, but they’ll infringe upon our liberties in unprecedented ways. They’ll determine the temperature of our homes, what kind of cars we’ll drive, how we dispose of our trash (Remember the guy with the orange peel?), and so much more.

Yet, Congress continues to push forward despite the revelations that too many scientists have cooked the books on climate change. This confirms four things: this bill is not about caring for the environment; this bill is not based on sound science; there is reasonable doubt about climate change; and this bill is about taking more control of our lives by curtailing our liberties.

Personally, I’d rather live in a filthy world where I have the freedom to make my own choices and to clean things up if I so desire. Take heed, America. Don’t let them pass this bill, or before long you’ll find yourself adding your mug shot to the family album for using a Styrofoam® cup for your morning coffee.


Cell Phone Buzz


Joan R. Neubauer

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Our fearless leader, Barrack Obama, has said that Americans should have no reasonable expectation of privacy when using their cell phones. Excuse me? Unless someone has repealed the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and failed to tell the rest of us about it, this statement smacks of the old Soviet Union.

Granted, the Soviet Union fell before the wide use of tiny cell phones that would fit into the back pocket of your jeans, but the old KGB routinely monitored their citizens. They listened in on phone conversations and face to face conversations with a variety of devices. They monitored books that people checked out of the library and what organizations they belonged to. In short, the KGB knew just about every little detail of the citizenry in an attempt to wipe out all opposition to the party line. But the people of the U.S.S.R. did not have the protection of a Constitution such as ours, and no law such as our 4th Amendment to protect their privacy. We do, and it is still in effect.

The amendment says, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated….” My person, my home, my car, my property, my effects—which includes my cell phone—all belong to me, and I have the right to the expectation of privacy and security from the prying eyes of the federal government. That right only suspends with “probable cause,” and our police agencies must swear an oath to that effect and describe “the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” The warrant then must specifically list that place of search or thing to be seized.

Unless any law enforcement agency has probable cause to believe that I’m breaking the law and can get a warrant for my cell phone or my cell phone records, I do have a reasonable expectation of privacy in my cell phone use and in the use of all my property. I continue to have faith in our Constitution and the protections it offers.

I understand that we live in a dangerous world. We all find ourselves vulnerable to threats of all sorts, both foreign and domestic. But we need not, should not, ever consider safety and security so important that we should pay for it with our liberty.


Healthcare Summit and common sense


Joan R. Neubauer

Mr. Obama came into office with healthcare reform at the top of his agenda. Reform is one thing, tearing the system down to the ground level and starting over is quite another. The state of the art of healthcare in this country is second to none. People from all over the world come to the U.S. for procedures and therapies unavailable elsewhere in the world. The problem, then, comes with distribution of such care.

This care by and large funnels through health insurance companies. As the system exists now, we have three basic problems: the inability to purchase healthcare insurance across state lines; rising premiums; and the inability to purchase insurance for a pre-existing condition.

If government would do away with the prohibitions of purchasing insurance across state lines, this would increase competition and lower premiums, thus taking care of the first two problems. Pre-existing conditions present another problem. If these insurance companies would include this portion of the population with the younger, healthier people, they could adjust premiums so everyone could bear the burden of covering all conditions, they’d still make a profit.

We shouldn’t leave these problems to the federal government, but rather to the states. States have the constitutional power to enter into compacts with each other and they should do so to work with the health insurance industry to solve these problems. Keep the federal government out of it.

I applaud Representative Paul Ryan from Wisconsin for standing up for his principles and respectfully telling President Obama and others present that the American people don’t want the federal government involved in their healthcare and that the numbers as presented by the president don’t add up because of some double-dipping.

And we don’t need a mandate to buy insurance. When Vice-President Joe Biden compared this healthcare reform debate to the discussion on Social Security back in the 30s, he mentioned that back then, the government mandated it for everyone, otherwise it wouldn’t work, and the government would eventually end up taking care of those not enrolled anyway. However, he failed to mention that members of Congress and federal workers don’t contribute to Social Security. Instead, they have their own “Cadillac plan.” In fact, some municipalities around the country, such as Galveston County, Texas, have opted out of Social Security and their workers retire with a pension plan far superior to anything Social Security has ever offered.

In short, trash this healthcare reform bill. Shred it. Spindle it. Mutilate it, and file 13 it. Keep the federal government out of my doctor’s office and leave it to the states to work with private industry to come up with a winning reform for everyone.


Hang tough for freedom


Joan R. Neubauer

As much as he’d like to put it to bed, Mr. Obama still finds himself grappling, arguing, cajoling, and otherwise twisting political arms for votes on this debacle of a healthcare reform bill. Despite the Cornhusker Kickback and the Louisiana Purchase, healthcare reform still languishes for lack of support.

To his credit, Mr. Obama made an attempt at transparency in government with the Healthcare Summit, but while he did so, he also demonstrated his Imperial attitude toward the loyal opposition and the American people. While the president may have thought to “clarify” his ideas on the subject and present the republicans as obstructionists—a very popular word in Washington these days—he only served to reinforce the opinion that D.C. is dismally out of touch with the governed and that the republicans will not cower before the attempt at power that comes from this particular Oval Office.

This administration has had a year to pass this bill, but they have failed. Blaming the republicans doesn’t work. The democrats own the White House, the Senate, and the House, and yet they couldn’t pass the bill. He didn’t need a single republican vote. That leads me to ask: How strong a leader is he?

Hang tough, Republicans. Take a lesson from Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin who unflinchingly weathered the intimidating stares of the president and other democrats as he rattled off statistic after statistic of why this bill is financially irresponsible, and how it counts revenues and offsets more than once. With courage and candor, he respectfully told the president that he has not been listening to the American people and that the finances of the bill do not bear scrutiny.

Hang tough, you Americans who value freedom and choice. Make your voices heard. Contact every Senator and Representative you can find and tell them to stop this curtailment of liberty and another step downward into the abyss of socialism.

Published on April 21, 2010 at 10:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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