Thursday, September 11, 2014

My Reflections on 9/11 - Never Forget!

I remember arriving at work shortly before 9am, watching the North Tower of the World Trade Center burn and then watching a second plane fly directly into the South Tower.

I remember everyone standing around as the Twin Towers disintegrated into dust.

I remember my friend who came to visit from his downtown office. When he emerged from the subway earlier that morning, he saw people jumping through windows in their office buildings. Jumping to their deaths 100 stories below seemed more bearable than enduring the heat generated by burning planes.

I remember walking past several hospitals in mid-afternoon seeking to donate blood only to learn that the blood banks were already full due to the generosity of others.

I remember seeing doctors with gurneys lined up on the street outside emergency rooms waiting to receive patients that never came.

I remember the thick ash-filled smoke that consumed the island of Manhattan for a week afterward.

I remember the bulletin boards where people posted pictures of missing loved ones. While it is heartbreaking to walk past a tree or a light post with a picture of a missing child smiling back, imagine walking through Grand Central Station and seeing large bulletin boards where people posted wedding pictures and vacation photos searching for missing loved ones, pictures of smiling policemen and firefighters in starched pressed uniforms who would never come home.

I remember the daily funerals and memorial services that were held for months on end where families were afforded the dignity of burying the bone fragment of a loved one. Say what you will about Mayor Giuliani, he attended the funerals and memorial services of every lost policeman and firefighter, sometimes several per day in all boroughs of New York City.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Senator Ted Cruz is Defending the American Dream!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Hamas is a Terrorist Organization with Blood on its Hands

Hamas is a Terrorist Organization with Blood on its Hands

The World Should Condemn Hamas For The Murder of Three Jewish Teenagers

June 30, 2014 | (202) 228-7561

WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, today released the following statement regarding news that the three Jewish teenagers who had been kidnapped by Hamas have been found dead.

 “The brutal murder Hamas carried out of three innocent Jewish teenagers is a terrorist-led atrocity that demands justice,” said Sen. Cruz. “While we lift Gilad Shaer, Naftali Frankel, and Eyal Yifrach and their loving families up in prayer, we must also act. Hamas is, unequivocally, a terrorist organization with blood on its hands that must be condemned on the world stage. There should be no path forward for Hamas to have any role in any future government formed by the Palestinian Authority, and no nation should accommodate, legitimize, or negotiate with this group that engages in the killing of innocent civilians. The Palestinian Authority should immediately renounce Hamas and actively work to expel Hamas from civil society. The United States should stand unequivocally with the Nation of Israel as it responds to this brutal terrorism and acts forcefully to protect its people.”


Thursday, May 29, 2014

My Obamacare story. Why we need #FullRepeal!

I have asthma. Asthma is a chronic yet easily managed disease. I have been taking the same medications for years to control my symptoms. I have not needed to see a pulmonologist (asthma doctor) for the past several years. I saw one recently primarily because my health insurance company is not covering my medications any longer. These are medications they saw fit to cover last year and the year before and the year before that.

I have private health insurance, not Obamacare exchange insurance. It is individual and small group coverage. I pay 100% of the cost of the insurance. It is essentially the same plan with the same health insurance company that I had last year, except it is more restrictive and more expensive than last year's plan.

My pulmonologist is a scientist at a university hospital conducting groundbreaking research into the genetic component of chronic airway disease. Yet, since President Obama decided that the blue pill works as well as the red pill, my doctor is forced to spend part of his day writing letters to insurance companies explaining why some patients need the red pill.

I live in a state that created an Obamacare exchange. My insurance company participates in the state exchange though my plan is not an exchange plan. Nonetheless, the drug formularies are identical, not similar but identical. Consequently, even though Washington, D.C. regards me as a millionaire and billionaire since I can afford to purchase my own health insurance, I am forced to live under the same rules as those whose health insurance I am subsidizing. Equality really does mean poorer care for all. Just ask veterans who are dying while waiting for treatment at the VA.

The irony of being treated by a research physician is that even if my doctor creates a breakthrough treatment to cure chronic airway disease, a condition that afflicts millions of Americans, I will never be allowed enjoy its benefits. In fact, I suspect no one will.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Senator Ted Cruz at the Americans for Prosperity Freedom Summit

The NRSC and Push Polling

The NRSC and Push Polling

Why is the NRSC trying to fix the Republican primary in Mississippi?

A short click over to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) website confirms their claim to be "the only national organization solely devoted to electing Republicans to the United States Senate." This makes one wonder why the NRSC would involve itself in primary fights seeking to defeat Republican challengers who presumably they would want to help should these challengers win their primary battles.

 The question occurred to me after receiving an email from the NRSC touting a poll claiming that 36 year United States Senate incumbent Thad Cochran enjoys a 17-point lead over challenger Chris McDaniel. Meant to despirit supporters of the Tea Party backed insurgent who has received endorsements from conservative organizations like The Senate Conservatives Fund, FreedomWorks, The Madison Project and Tea Party Express and conservative leaders including Sarah Palin and Mark Levin, the poll tells a much different story on closer examination.

Commissioned by a polling firm whose president is a former strategist for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), the companion arm to the NRSC in the House of Representatives, the poll finds that 57% claim to support the "goals and ideals of the Tea Party". In addition, the poll reports that 59% identify as very conservative and 32% identify as somewhat conservative. Think about this for a moment. Nearly 3/5 of those polled self-identify as very conservative and support the Tea Party movement yet an insurgent candidate supported by leading national Tea Party groups and the nation's leading conservative voices is trailing a 36 year incumbent who claims not to know much about the Tea Party movement. Does this make sense?  It does when you consider that nearly 3/5 of those polled are 66 years of age or older and only 1/10 of those polled are under the age of 50. That might help when polling support for a 76 year-old incumbent.

While this poll lies in stark contrast with other recent polling data showing the race to be much tighter, it begs a larger question. Why did the NRSC commission this push poll and why is it going out on a limb to support an incumbent when either candidate would crush his Democrat opponent in a general election? Perhaps, the answer lies in the NRSC's true mission. Though the website claims that their mission is to elect Republican candidates, NRSC staff admits freely that its mission is really to re-elect incumbents.

Therein lies the problem. What happens when conservatives believe incumbent Republicans are not representing their interests and national Republican organizations are aligned against them? They do not vote. One need look only at the 2012 Presidential election where the Republican candidate failed to improve on the 2008 Republican vote total despite running against an incumbent with a record of real unemployment north of 10%.

If six-term United States Senator Thad Cochran needs the support of the NRSC in order to win a seventh term, perhaps it is time for him to consider taking a well-earned retirement. Considering that Thad Cochran was first elected to the United States Senate when Chris McDaniel was in first grade, perhaps it is time for Mississippi to have new representation in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ted Cruz v Rand Paul?

The liberal media and Washington establishment is celebrating the foreign policy 'feud' between Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. They fan the flames of discord because they oppose the policies where these leaders agree: reducing spending and the size of our federal government, and paying off our ever growing burden of national debt. Senator Cruz's embrace of Constitutional Republicanism encouraged him to join Senator Paul's filibuster and Senator Paul's commitment to repealing ObamaCare caused him to join Senator Cruz's filibuster.

Yet, the crisis in the Ukraine has highlighted their different approaches to foreign policy and caused a bit of a public spat, especially given speculation that both senators may run for president in 2016. Though I view it as counterproductive to the many principles which conservative and libertarian-leaning Republicans share to fan the flames dissension, it is worth noting why Senator Cruz's approach is superior.

In an op-ed in Breitbart, Senator Paul suggests that many Republicans embrace the foreign policy approach championed by President Ronald Reagan, peace through strength, because they "lack their own ideas or agenda." This straw man argument is similar to one espoused by Democrats who suggest that the Republican answer to every economic ill is to cut taxes and regulations. Look back on a Reagan economic legacy that created tens of millions of private sector jobs, then look back on a Reagan foreign policy legacy that defeated the Soviet Union without ever firing a shot. As the saying goes, if it ain't broke....

Senator Paul continues by praising President Reagan for retrenching in the Middle East after a homicide bomber killed 241 U.S. Marines with a truck bomb in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983. It is this retrenchment that is often viewed as the encouragement of modern-day terrorism. Truck bombs can cause the mighty United States of America to retreat and create a level playing field with terrorists. Is Senator Paul suggesting that a President Paul would react to terrorism in this fashion? Is Senator Paul suggesting that a President Paul would wait until we are hit before prosecuting war against our enemies large and small?

Regarding the crisis in Ukraine, Senator Paul continues by suggesting that there is a "finite menu of diplomatic measures to isolate Russia." Really? How so? While the United States can expel Russia from the G8 or seek to interrupt trade or introduce a resolution in the United Nations, why not take this opportunity to be creative? Senator Cruz has suggested several options including allowing the export of U.S. energy so Europe is not dependent on Russian energy resources. That is hardly "beat[ing] [his] chest" or "talking tough for the sake of [his] political career." Exporting U.S. energy would also have the side benefit of liberating our economy from the malaise of Obamanomics.

No one is "latching onto" the Reagan legacy as Senator Paul suggests. I do not believe Senator Cruz is "misinterpreting it" either. Ronald Reagan knew who his enemies were and used every arrow in his quiver to defeat an evil empire. Those who pretend otherwise are the ones who are misinterpreting history.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Fight to #MakeDCListen

There is a myth in politics that elections are won and lost in the middle. The premise is that "independent" voters support tenets of both major political parties and candidates must craft their message to attract a majority of these "moderates." Despite the fact that nearly twice as many Americans self-identify as conservative as compared to liberal, conservatives are often referred to as "extremists," or worse.

Prominent political operatives write op-ed pieces proclaiming that Republicans win elections by ignoring the base of their party and that sticking to your principles is a "self-defeating strategy." Yet, these same political operatives commission polls whose results state the opposite to be true.

One such poll was commissioned by a mainstream Republican advocacy group in early June of last year. Several months before millions of Americans discovered that their health insurance premiums and deductibles were set to skyrocket in 2014, nearly two thirds of Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike told a pollster that the top priority of health care policy should be reducing the cost of health care.

Before the defund debate had begun and Senator Ted Cruz stood for 21 hours to implore his U.S. Senate colleagues to defund Obamacare, a cool two thirds of Republicans and Independents told a pollster they wanted Congress to take whatever steps possible to "dismantle" Obamacare now.

The most startling fact of all: when asked whether people should be allowed to purchase insurance across state lines, more than 75% of Democrats, Republicans and Independents agreed. In fact, the greatest agreement was seen among Independents, a cool 85% of whom do not want the government restricting their choice of health insurance.

This brings up a larger point. A record 42% of Americans self-identify as Independent rather than Republican or Democrat because the major political parties do not advance policies that are important to those voters. As an example, while few agree that our present immigration system is ideal, Republican and Democrat politicians press the immigration debate despite only 3% of Americans viewing immigration as the most pressing issue of the day. It is no wonder that pollster Frank Luntz suggested that the most effective political soundbite of 2013 was one where Senator Ted Cruz observed that the President and Congress are not listening to the American people.

In the aftermath of the 2012 election, a prominent Republican political operative suggested that Republicans could regain their political swagger by deploying an "army of computer engineers, mathematicians and social scientists" as the Obama campaign had done to mine electoral data and achieve electoral success. The creation of Para Bellum Labs within the Republican National Committee would seem to indicate that the RNC has heeded this operative's advice.

As a mathematician, I would suggest that the answer is much simpler. Do not target voters, target the message they are sending. When three fourths of the voting public tells you something, LISTEN!

Republicans should offer a simple alternative to Obamacare. Suggest that if you elect us in 2014, we will allow you to buy whatever health insurance plan you want, wherever it is offered, and we will not punish you if you choose not to purchase anything at all. Pass a one page bill out of the House of Representatives and offer it up in the United States Senate with every Republican Senator as a co-sponsor. Take a clear unadulterated stand and follow through! Freedom works!

Conservatives were excoriated during the defund debate last fall as being outside the mainstream. It was a question of tactics we were told, notwithstanding the fact that those doing the questioning were sitting on polling data stating that they ought to have been following the conservatives. It is no wonder that a recent Freedomworks poll found nearly half of its respondents listing health care as a top concern.

The Obama administration told Americans recently that it is "good news" that they will have the "opportunity" to work less as a consequence of Obamacare. Only in a dystopian Orwellian fantasy is more unemployment "good news." By that economic scorecard, Washington should be celebrating with parades every month!

Washington is not listening to the American people. If Republicans are not proactive in fighting our decline into dystopia, their political fortunes will get sucked into its vortex.