Marshall in the Middle

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Political Snake Slithers Across the Map








The Orlando Sentinel continues to massage my ego by publishing another of my rambling letters.  Hopefully it will make some difference.  They actually changed the wording more than usual., but the essence of my outrage was conveyed.

A little background;  The Orlando Sentinel  published an article last Thursday regarding our wonderful leaders in Tallahassee and their determination to maintain gerrymandering and  "government by cronyism".  They all love gerrymandering  because Lord knows they couldn't be elected by a normal cross-section of Floridians.  They have to hand pick their districts to get as many like minded "mouth breathers" as possible.   Even though the public voted by a super majority (over 60%)  to end gerrymandering here in Florida the legislators have done everything they can to thwart the will of the people.  Now that the courts are looking closely at their records, there may be "hell to pay" because they "lost" their records (imagine that !).  

Anyway, here's the letter;

    Regarding the article “Leaders in Legislature
admit destroying redistricting records”
in Thursday’s Sentinel: The will of the people
in the Fair Districts amendments was that
gerrymandering must stop.
Our leaders in Tallahassee seemed to have
thought that since they didn’t agree with the
amendments, which were passed by more
than 60 percent of the voters, they were
entitled to do everything they could to prevent
it from being implemented.
Now they have come under the scrutiny of
the courts. They aren’t sorry for what they
did, but they’re terribly sorry they may have
been caught.When such an abundance of
effort from our political leaders goes toward
thwarting the will of the people, they should
be stripped of all power.
These political games the parties play must
stop. Let the courts showno mercy to their
excuses regarding “lost” records. This frame
of thought from any existing or potential
leaders must be squashed.

Charles E.Marshall Clermont


In my Humble Opinion !!  

Monday, December 2, 2013

That's Seventeen Trillion with a T



     
A Black Hole 


     Although I know we have calm waters regarding the national deficit right now, anyone would admit that the issue will come up again.  Probably sooner rather than later.   Shouldn't this be discussed before it becomes another political football game?

      I know there is an entire school of thought from the far left that argues the national deficit doesn't matter at all.  "The government controls the supply of money and it's their job to propel the economy no matter the total $$ figure required to do so", they argue.  "In the end it all comes out in the wash."   There is another school of thought from the far right Tea Party that anguishes over every single penny and they warn;  "The  end is near if we continue to spend the way we do and interest rates start to spike.  We'll be handing over our country to our creditors- the Chinese".  So, who's right?   I think probably neither one.  It just doesn't make sense that continuing to issue debt in the name of government progress can go on forever (as far as I know they have not discovered an eternal supply of capital backed by nothing) but it also doesn't make sense that the government should refrain from any influence over the economy with its abilities to control the money supply and interest rates when the situation requires it, even if Chinese creditors are calling us morning noon and night.   I am very concerned about the deficit as my blog titled "USA Titanic" elaborated  http://chuckmarshall.blogspot.com/2011/04/usa-titanic.html   (if you're interested in reviewing ! ) but I don't think shutting down the government does anything but rally the Tea Party around their latest "flavor of the month" politician willing to do their bidding no matter the consequence.  It serves NO other good.  It wastes resources and hurts the economy and it fixes nothing as we go on spending money that doesn't exist.    Which brings me to my next point;    "Why is it always impossible for Obama and/or the federal government to issue cuts in their operations in the way any private business would thus nipping the entire deficit argument right in the bud ?"   It's not a point of contention if there is no need to raise the deficit in the first place, right?   This would take the wind out of the sails of the Tea Party and would certainly shore up some badly needed bi-partisan legislation between the intelligent Democrats and the intelligent Republicans.

     Private business is efficient precisely because it removes fat when it is required.  If it doesn't, it will go bankrupt.  The same should be said for the nation but we have no mechanism to correct the government because they control the supply of money.   Their solution is always to print more money (essentially) by raising the deficit.   Right now all we have is the hysterical Tea Party forcing the issue therefor the public is not tuned into the severity of the situation.  Because the Tea Party is so shrill, they've lost the audience with their drama.  I agree with the Tea Party (yes, I do!) that the deficit is a problem that needs to be fixed.  It is a black hole of debt that is slowly sucking our economy and our society into an abyss even our children may have to deal with.     I suggest the next time this debate erupts that the Democrats come up with a solution other than raising taxes.  They could to this with a total overhaul of the federal government including merging departments, technical advances, layoffs, wage cuts and benefit cuts such that the required money will be found.  We won't even have to throw old people off of cliffs !    I know the right will argue that the Democrats would never do anything like that because the bigger the government the better for them, but I am a hopeless optimist with a modicum of faith that there are still a few endangered species left in DC that have a wise mind and a sincere concern for the American people and not their own power and influence.   Hope springs eternal !  

In my humble opinion.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

"L'âge de l'incompétence"






There was a great article in today's paper by local opinion columnist, Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel.  In the article he elaborates how the state government is fighting the federal courts to be allowed to ban a Doctor from advising his or her patients on the dangers of guns.  The column was very effective in communicating the question;   "Are they all just plain dumb?".  First of all, I have never had a Doctor mention anything remotely close to how I handle guns in my home.   That would be, in my humble opinion, a very odd conversation;

 "So, Mr. Marshall are you careful with guns in your house at this point because I see you have younger children that might be inclined to grab your guns and fire them in an inappropriate way- like towards each other or themselves ?"  "Well, Doc... I am very careful with my guns, thank you very much,  but thanks for advising on that point.  I'm also very careful to look both ways before crossing the street when my little ones are in tow and I have forbid them from playing in traffic".  

That's just weird.  So, anyway, our genius state government wants it to be illegal for such an oddball conversation.  They have already made fools of themselves regarding the law which was shot down by the courts as totally unconstitutional, but now they've gone so far as to spend $97,000 in legal fees to fight the federal courts over this same issue.  Our local schools are not busing students that live closer to their school than 2 miles because of budget cuts, but our wonderful leaders in Tallahassee make sure the citizens of Florida are solidly behind banning personal conversations between Doctors and their patients.

In a previous blog I elaborated on what our times might be called, and I think I've decided.  I vote for "The Age of Incompetence" or say it in French and it sounds even better  "L'âge de l'incompétence".  Say it  with scorn and arrogance the way a Frenchman would and just as our leaders deserve.  One for the history books, folks.

In My Humble Opinion.

Monday, November 4, 2013

President Obama's Bubble








I hate to break it to the President but it's not just Fox network that is seeing his inability to lead our country.  The launch of the Affordable Care Act has been so disastrous only a bubble encased chief executive could be so benign regarding the ineffectiveness of its launch.  Not only are people unable to sign up, but hundreds  of thousands are being dropped from their coverage due to the new law.  Many times on the news I've watched as Obama promised back in 2010 that nobody would have to lose their coverage if they like their health insurance.  This was an impossibility as soon as it came out of his mouth.   Nobody, not even his royal highness, can prevent  a private enterprise in the United States from doing whatever it wants with the coverage it offers.  If Obamacare causes them to change their approach to who they cover, it's absolutely out of his control and really none of his business.  Once again, the President and his Democrat cronies are  surprised that he was not elected King, but President of a nation of  free thinking individuals and companies that are able to make whatever  decision is best for them and their shareholders.   This is all regardless of his noble speeches and promises to "help" all of us little people out here.

How ironic that after the Tea Party makes an ass of themselves shutting down the government and nearly driving our country into credit insolvency that  the President and his beloved Obamacare prove themselves to be the disaster the Tea Party was warning about from the beginning.   The Tea Party Right ?!  I wouldn't go so far as to exclaim admiration for them but it is looking more and more like they weren't totally off-base.  At the very least their shrill hysterics regarding the probable failure of the "affordable care act" look to be somewhat justified.  (that is not an endorsement of their tactics).   I never supported Obamacare and I especially dislike the lack of bi-partisan support such a far-reaching law had in Congress, but I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt until it proved itself the disaster the right was predicting.  Well, it didn't take long.  It seems to be the sooner we come up with alternatives to Obamacare, the better.

Wake up Mr. President.  The  press cannot protect you anymore from you and your administration's incompetence and there is no good witch of the North that can wave a wand and make the bad stuff go away.   Establish some alternatives and show us some leadership.  It's not too late for you to deliver on at least one or two of your many promises, but the clock is ticking.

In my humble opinion.

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Case for Independents - No More Closed Primaries






For nearly 70 years the United States fought the communists based on the belief that having only one party to choose from for leadership was not only unfair but also victimized the entire population.  When you have no choice in an election then it’s not really an election but would be more accurately referred to as a tally.  The communist system finally failed but the American party system goes on and on and continues to rob the people of true representation by cornering us all into choosing between two parties.  While having a choice between two is certainly better than one, being twice as good as the Communist system is hardly something to celebrate.    

For the 40% of all Americans that identify themselves as  Independents  there is no choice for us here and we are forced to choose between the Democrat or the Republican way of thinking no matter how odious such a choice is.  We are much like the Russians standing in line with blank faces, placing votes for candidates that had no opposition.  Today we independents are being robbed of our constitutional right to fair representation because the candidates to choose from were pre-selected for us with none of our input due to the closed primary system.   Even worse (and woe to us all), they are being pre-selected  by the extreme wings of each party as the more moderate Republicans and Democrats have left their party in disgust.  

As children, in preschool we learn  to take turns on the playground and  that we will never be able to have all of it to ourselves.  Similarly, we learned not to expect that we should always get our own way because  compromise is often necessary in life.   Our congress enjoys no such maturity and their inability to see eye to eye on most issues has cost our country dearly.    A business or private interest that operated with such a selfish lack of foresight and immaturity would have long ago gone into bankruptcy  for its inability to negotiate as a reasonable organization.    The roots of this impasse spring from the Republican and Democratic parties' choke-hold on our government through Gerrymandering, closed primaries, and  financial monopoly. 

The  parties have lost their right to any political advantage over non-party or minor party candidates because of their inability to come to agreement, compromise, and secure a prosperous future for all Americans.  Their loyalty to their party has proven to be more important than any allegiance with the American public, much in the way the Soviet communists were more inspired to maintain communist power rather than Russian liberty or freedom.  It is time for the American people to demand an end to all political advantages given to the major parties so that Independents have more of a say in the selection of our leaders and the operation of our government.  Perhaps then we will finally see real work and effort to secure the safety, security and happiness of our country as our leaders focus on representing their American constituents not their Republican and Democratic constituents.   
 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tea Party a Cancer on the Republican Party





When I first heard of the Tea Party back in 2009-2010, I thought to myself;  "Oh good,  a group of people that understand what this country needs is to go back to its roots".   I had just read Common Sense by Thomas Paine (a masterpiece !) and also the biography of John Adams, one of my favorite founding fathers.  These men were true patriots.  Intelligent, passionate, committed studs who helped establish the foundation of our country with bedrock ideas and truly brilliant solutions to the challenge of governing a fledgling nation.
As the weeks and months went by I came to realize that the "Tea Party" is nothing like our founding fathers and that they in no way resemble patriots.  If anything they are a pack of traitors that wishes all actions of our President to fail miserably so they can point to his failure as proof of their superior philosophy, no matter the harm done to ordinary Americans.  They pretend to celebrate our founding fathers but in what way is that true?  Our founding fathers understood that to govern the people that it's important that the opinions of ALL the people be heard and that a compromise was absolutely essential.  The Tea Party wants its own way or it's the highway and it will do whatever it takes to block the "other side" from getting what it wants.   No one person or group of people have all the answers, and the governing philosophy that embraces such a concept is not a Democracy or a Republic but would best be referred to as a Fascist state.    

Many of the core ideas of the Republican party use to coincide with my philosophy;  personal responsibility, self reliance, small business virtues.  Today, with the help of the Tea Party I now think of them as  uncompromising, unsympathetic, selfish, anti-environment, and anti-science.  They're incapable of even conceiving of agreement with the other branches of government - a critical function of our leadership.  So, what has happened to Congress as a consequence ?   They are less popular than roaches and communists a recent survey revealed and absolutely nothing gets done, because any sort of productive legislation requires the two parties agree on SOMETHING !

Now, with national health care,  they are bound and determined to stop Obamacare.  I don't know that much about Obamacare 'nor do I have any idea if it will work. I do know that it was legislated by a government controlled by the Democrats in 2009 that was elected by the American people.  So, if the Republicans want to repeal Obamacare then they should take back the government and repeal it !  That's how it works.  The way they're doing it sets a dangerous precedent that whatever is done by one party will be in danger of being blocked by the other party through threats of government shutdowns and the defunding  of  legislation that was legally written by a previous Congress.  When does it ever end?  That's something for the Tea Party to consider;  "If you do get control of the government, the Democrats will never let you get anything done.  So, stick that lump of sugar in your cup and drink it."





Thursday, August 29, 2013

What Will Our Times Be Called?








Right now the news is boring because Congress is out of session.  I'm thinking that about the same amount of work is getting done as when they ARE in session.  Such are the times we live in.  One day, when all this is over ( I hope and pray) I'll be an old man in my rocking chair watching the History Channel as the young whipper snappers refer to the early 21st century as the "Age of the Inept", or perhaps "The Decade of Incompetence",  "The Reign of Dunces" ?  Will they ask us old folks what it was like to live in such a powerful country with such incapable leaders?  Will our grandchildren ask us to tell them stories about the old days when America was run by a group of buffoons?

 "Was it scary, Grandpa?"

"Terrifying", I'll reply and then I'll proceed to explain how Congress was held hostage by two idiotic groups called "parties".  I'll tell them they had a purpose at one point in our history but in the early 21st century they became so full of themselves and their "so called" ideals that they forgot they were there for Americans, not their particular party.  "They lost sight of their country and decided that fighting each other was far more important than serving the people., and so they made our democracy nothing more than a helpless, fat and flabby beast that they sucked the life out of like leaches.   No leadership. No ideas.  No compromise.  A pompous group of stuffed shirts that slithered around with lobbyists for any advice on actual legislation.  They were off more days than on, and unlike the rest of the population they often didn't show up for work at all as they had important meetings with said lobbying friends on K Street- their future employers.  They were unprincipled, uninspiring, sniveling little toads that were for sale to the highest bidder.  A herd of blithering cattle incapable of an original thought except in terms of how it might make the sitting President of the opposite party look bad.

"I'm glad we have a good Congress that  works hard to fix our problems, right Grandpa?"

"Yes indeed, you are very, very lucky to live in a country that is lead by intelligent principled men that are in Washington for one purpose;  to solve problems".

"I'm sorry you had to live during the "Days of the blithering Idiots" grandpa"

"Me too sweetheart, but it was worth all the anguish and suffering if it meant you don't have to deal with it.  The "Days of the Blithering Idiots" are over for good".

Sigh..... I can dream, can't I?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Can the Republicans Offer Solutions for Healthcare ?




     Recently in the Orlando Sentinel there was an article on how Senator Marco Rubio has warned that our quality of health care is in serious danger if the “Affordable Health Care Act” moves forward.  I think he has a good point in that there are few federally controlled agencies that we can look at with admiration for their success.   I wonder though, what ideas might he and the Republicans have?   All I hear on so many major issues is what the Republicans don't want. But, what is it they DO want?   What ideas do they have to make health care affordable ?  Surely there are intelligent options that could come from the right other than what they don’t want.      

     On a monthly basis the average premiums for a family of four are approximately $1000 per month.   If you’re fortunate, you work for a company that pays for half of that. In comparison, when I first graduated from college in 1987 I paid around $30 per month to cover the full premium for myself.  Consider that this money put back in people’s pockets could go towards improvements to homes, vacations, entertainment and education.  Positive economic catalysts.   The high cost of health insurance as a percentage of income has become a drain on the economy.  It needs to be fixed.  

     Our leaders don’t understand our struggles.  I’ve always liked the idea of having our Senators and congressman pay the same health care premiums most Americans pay so they can relate to what we’re going through.  I wonder what Senator Rubio pays?  I'm very sure it's not 10% of his net income as it is for most middle class Americans.  

     The pharmaceutical and medical professions have spent over three billion dollars on lobbying in Washington DC since 1990.  That's a lot of convincing.   What exactly did they convince our government to do for all these years ?   Could it be this lobbying has created a warped medical economy where normal laws of supply and demand no longer apply?  Can that be fixed?   Also, could there be limits on litigation so that the mistakes of Doctors don’t automatically make someone and their lawyer a millionaire while simultaneously causing everyone's premiums to surge as a consequence ? 

     As a voice from the middle, I would like to hear some good ideas from the right that could improve our health care system as it stands today.  The Republicans are against Obamacare. That is obvious,  But if their mindset is that the status quo is fine,  then they have already failed the American people.  

In My Humble Opinion. 


Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Media Defines Justice for Us



     I hesitated to write about the Trayvon Martin tragedy.  I really avoid "popular" events and media-hyped "non" stories.  I avoid them because they're not political, they're just news stories that the media stirs up because they need something to draw eyeballs.   This story though has turned political thanks to the media and our existing leadership in the executive branch of the federal government.  I also felt compelled to write a criticism of the left as I've been laying into the Republicans for several blogs now.

     Since the President mentioned that Trayvon "could have been his son" he was signalling for something to happen.  The street protests and the outrage of the left and most Democrats turned a tragic death into a "left vs right"., "white vs black" thing.  The media knew if they kept stirring the pot that the profits would come oozing out of their cauldron of maleficence.  And they were right.  Now, out of the many thousands of youth murdered every year, this particular tragedy is the defining moment of modern judicial process.  The outrage over the actions of a very stupid "white Hispanic" have turned our nation against itself.  This time I really blame the left wing for fueling the fire with mostly "fake" outrage to satisfy their black constituents.  The final bit of blithering nonsense.? The Attorney General of the United States has ordered an investigation to see if Zimmerman violated Trayvon's civil rights.  Huh?  That was already tried by the feds when the entire investigation started.  Why is this suddenly going to work?  So the director of law enforcement for our entire country of 300 million people is demanding action because he and his liberal cronies don't like the verdict they heard.  What a ridiculous waste of time, money and effort to placate a bunch of malcontents that don't understand the law.  Surely the left can come up with many, many more appropriate situations to be "outraged" over that do fall under violations of civil rights.  This was a tragic run-in with a hyperactive Barney Fife and a street smart kid.  Both misjudged the situation very badly.  There are many, many much more outrageous things going on in our country that merit all this attention from the media.  

     I  understand the anger that is out there regarding the verdict.  I felt the same way about  Casey Anthony and even wrote a blog about it.   I understand the outrage.  My opinion of the verdict?  You guessed it.  Somewhere in the middle.   They charged him with second degree murder, but all the physical evidence suggested he was defending himself.  It's common sense that if someone has their nose broken and their head is being bashed into the ground that the person is going to defend themselves.  Who among us would not?   Since the evidence was that he was defending himself the logical plea should have been manslaughter.  That's the only way they could have convicted him and they had a very good case.  George Zimmerman was told NOT to pursue the youth he was following around his neighborhood.  He was also negligent in getting out of his car.  He used bad judgment in challenging a strange youth who did not know him  and who could have sincerely felt his life was in danger.  He was reckless to carry a gun on his body in this situation with no official uniform or badge indicating he was trying to enforce the law.  Manslaughter would have brought a conviction.  Manslaughter was not pleaded against Zimmerman because the protesters in the street would have howled their disapproval, and after all,  "he could have been the President's son".  What a sad waste of time and attention, except of course, for the media.  They've made a fortune on the whole thing.

In My Humble Opinion.....


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Immigration Reform : Will the Republicans Find their Brain ?







My wife is an immigrant.  She and her parents fled  Cuba in 1985 under an agreement Ronald Reagan signed with Castro to release political dissidents.  Her parents were against the communist regime and they were legally allowed to come here to the US.   In true Hollywood fashion they were on the last plane out of Cuba before Castro changed his mind regarding the entire treaty, and halted any further flights out.  Janet and her family were fleeing political oppression.

Right now, we have 11 million "illegal" immigrants living in the US.  Many of them have been here for a long time and a huge majority are from Mexico.  More often than not they sneaked across our border with Mexico.  Most of them do jobs that Americans don't really want to do.  They were fleeing poverty.

Now there is a debate in Washington to reform what we do with these people that are here illegally.  The US Senate passed an immigration reform bill that  gives these illegals a path to citizenship.  As usual this has become a partisan (what a surprise !) issue where the Republicans have one idea and the Democrats have another.  To their credit, the Senate passed the bill with a decent number of Republicans siding with the reform bill, following the lead of the Republican darling, Marco Rubio- a Cuban-American many believe will be the next Republican nominee for President.

The Democrats are saying that we should help these people who are here because they've been here so long and it would be inhuman to not give them alternatives.  To which I ask "So, it's inhuman to live in Mexico?".  I don't think Mexico is Cuba.  Although it is not a rich nation, Mexico is still essentially a democracy where leaders are chosen by the people.  I hardly think it's inhuman to send these people back to their own country.    I can see where a person who is "Americanized" and has lived here all their lives would have a very difficult time of it,  but I don't think "inhuman" would be an effective adjective.  I'd buy "cruel".  But, the law is the law., which is the position that the Republicans have taken.  They are saying they are here illegally so we need to form a process of removing them to their country and keep any more from coming in.  Although they've learned not to take the Hispanic voter lightly, I think they still essentially want them gone... or at the very least, controlled.  They see them as a threat to their  power because these people tend to vote Democrat and they are an enabling part of the "victim" mentality that they say (albeit, quietly)  has infected our country.

The problem is that the process of executing the law would mean rounding up people all over the country and driving them back across the border.... 11 Million !  Not only would it be logistically impossible, but the vision of people being herded onto buses to be "transported" is eerily similar to the Jews of Europe being loaded onto trains for transport to concentration camps.  Is it the same?  Of course not, but the visual image would never be tolerated in the United States.   The fact of the matter is, the horse is already out of the barn.  We have to come up with another way.  What the Republicans really want is impossible.

So,  neither side is going to ever get exactly what it wants.  Isn't that how it should be?   What bothers me is the Senate has done their job and come up with a viable solution (although wrapped in the red tape that any bill today offers), at least it is action to correct a problem.  That is something that has been missing in Washington for some time now.  There are no good solutions to problems, only the talking points of the right and the left as they jockey for political advantage on the talk shows.  With this bill, there are concrete avenues to address all concerns.  Now I fear we will watch as Congress modifies any action to the point where solutions are debated into oblivion.  I hope I'm wrong, but I anticipate the house of representatives turning into another political "freak show" featuring the Tea party and it's unbending attitude towards any solution.  If it's not written exactly the way they want it, then it's a "no go".   We need the Republicans to offer effective arguments against the left wing.  Anything other than the shrill tantrums we see from the Tea Party.   I'm so tired  of never hearing of an effective solution from the right.  They need to start compromising with the situation and stop wishing they could run the entire show.  They must accept their weaker hand in the today's political environment or their stubborn positions will make them even weaker.  Once again, they'll be seen as the party of "no", and they just might wind up being the party of "no power".



Sunday, June 2, 2013

Letter to the Editor: Saving Florida's Springs

Right now, in the state of Florida our natural springs are starting to spawn blobs of algae because of pollution running into the Florida Aquifer (an underground river of fresh water).  Our state government is doing nearly nothing to stop the pollution and it causes me great embarrassment as a Floridian.  Much of the opposition to protecting our natural resources comes from the "Tea Party" wing on the Republican party which runs our idiotic state government.  The Republicans have really lost their way.  The environment use to be one subject that both parties could agree on, but the Democrats have taken the high road on this one and once again the Republicans are coming off as "pro" big business, and "anti" pretty much everything else.  Anti-environment, anti-small business, anti-science, anti-progress,  anti-immigrant, anti-gay, and anti-fair elections.  They have absolutely  no new ideas to help anything and all they seem to consider is what they can do to make the Democrats' life miserable.  

Here in Florida there is a spring fed river called the Wekiva River.  This river is slowly dying and the scientists and environmentalists agree that it's just a matter of time.  So, what is our Republican led congress doing about it?  Nothing.  Hence, a editorial from the Orlando Sentinel which I fully agree.  Below is the letter I sent and that was published in today's Orlando Sentinel opinion page.  



Leaders see Wekiva dying, do nothing
Thanks for the Sentinel editorial on Wednesday focused on the appalling lack of urgency demonstrated by the St. Johns River Water Management District officials, as well as our leadership at the state level, regarding the slow death of the Wekiva River ("State officials fiddling while the Wekiva dies").
I found it ironic as I drove down Interstate 4 recently and noticed the slogan for Seminole County: Florida's Natural Choice. Maybe it would be more accurate to add "for blobs of algae."
Our leaders throw open the floodgates with corporate welfare to all manner of big business, but they cut out bike trails and environmental protection because they say we can't afford it.
Interestingly, these things we can't afford are the issues that most benefit small business and the individual citizens of the state — both present and future.
I hope all of these leaders are preparing answers for their kids and grandchildren when they're asked one day what they did to help Florida's ailing freshwater springs back in 2013.
An honest response will be, "I saw it coming. I had the power. I did nothing."
Charles E. Marshall Clermont

All citizens should  write their  Congressman and demand they start doing something to protect our springs and other fragile natural beauties throughout the country and even the world.  They are robbing our children and grandchildren of something very special and perhaps essential to the future of our planet.    

In my humble opinion. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tim Tebow and the Children of Darkness; The NFL




   


Yesterday it was announced that Tim Tebow was cut by the NY Jets.  I normally don't talk about sports in my blog because it is, after all, a political blog, however, I make an exception for celebrated figures if I think there is something "like" politics going on.   In other words something confounding and frustrating that makes no sense except as it might be of assistance or in accordance with the opinions and mind-set of the "powers that be".  In this case, the NFL.

(I am going to preface my ramblings below with an admission, right off the top.  I am a big fan of Tim Tebow.  First of all, I'm a Florida Gator (UF Alumni, Class of '87, thank you very much), my father was a Gator,  my late uncle was President of the student body back in the 40's, my brother is a Gator,  I have a nephew who graduated from UF in '11, and I have 2 nieces graduating from there on the same day, this coming Saturday May 5  !   So.... me and most of my family are "uber" Gators.  Consequently, as anyone who knows the Gators would realize, Tim Tebow is our patron saint.  We ADORE HIM !! - there, I think I've confessed enough?).

Anyway, all of my "Gator Uberness" aside, I have to complain mightily about the way Tim has been treated., and I have my own theory about why he has been treated this way.   In a nutshell, he's just too damn nice for the NFL.  It all started when John Elway from the Denver Broncos started having to interact with some of Tim's "projects" on the sideline.  I remember watching as Tim introduced one of the sick kids that were on the sideline to meet him and get his autograph, etc...   (This was when Tim was new and hadn't been proven bad enough to dump "yet".)  The look on Elway's face revealed his discomfort.  Wow, it was like there was a fire!   John Elway wants to talk to hot cheerleaders and men with a lot of money or talent, not some "sad sack" kid on the sideline with an overly-nice quarterback whom he inherited with the much chagrin.  Tim Tebow was not John Elway's choice and that was abundantly clear from the beginning.  Then, you  have the infamous "Tebowing", which also created  unwanted attention for John and the higher ups in the NFL.  You don't dare bring religion into the ever-pagan world of professional football or any other form of entertainment.  "That's for church,  folks!" (although if it's just for the church then why did Christ usually preach in the streets not the Temple..?  But, that's another blog)   How embarrassing !  Talk of God !?   I sincerely think Tim would have had a better chance if he had gotten a prostitute pregnant, or come out as having a problem with "substance abuse".  John Elway COULD NOT WAIT to get rid of Tim Tebow.  It was agony for him when Tim actually got the Broncos to the playoffs.  Now what do you do?  Well, you pay $130 million dollars to get broken down Peyton Manning as your "dream quarterback", thus giving you the perfect excuse to dump Tebow.  Now, you have this "once in a lifetime" opportunity that you just can't pass up (pun intended).   Whew, that was close,  huh John?  He said in farewell to Tim, that he would "love to be his father in law".  I would have told him "gee thanks, but if she has the face of a horse like you, no thanks".  Tim was very gracious, of course slathering praise on Peyton Manning (who, by the way never beat the Gators when he was at Tennessee... HA, HA, HA) and thanking John Elway for the "opportunity".   Well, the Denver Broncos got their dream quarterback, but "I'll be damned" they didn't win their first playoff game this past year like the previous year when,  um, Tim Tebow DID win their first playoff game. HA, HA, HA, again.  

Tebow then proceeded to New York and the Jets., and if anyone can explain to me what happened there I'm "all ears" because I have no idea what they were doing.

I have to be honest, I didn't pay too much attention to the whole thing because I knew the NFL was not going to have any of Tim Tebow.  His religious ways make them very nervous, and no matter where he landed I didn't see it working.  What a weird world we live in.  The guy wins the Heisman Trophy, almost twice, wins 2 national championships for UF, but suddenly his mechanics can't cut it in the vaunted NFL.  What a load of crap.  They didn't want it to work because he doesn't fit the mold they have in mind.  You can't have embarrassing handicapped children, and sick kids wandering around the sidelines of professional football games making all those important people feel uncomfortable !  "Get it away", they must have all been thinking.  "Get it away from me"., all this embarrassing kneeling and talk of helping the poor.  "Get it away, get Tim away... far away from us".  And, so finally they succeeded.

Tim Tebow didn't make it in the NFL because he acts like a Christian SHOULD act, rather than the way most Christians DO act.  I have no doubt that a lot of those dealing with him-  the NFL overlords-  also go to church every two months or so, and they take communion and confess their sins to God,  "may Jesus save them from themselves, and their sin".  But they don't live it. They mouth it.  It's perfunctory.  Tim Tebow is the real deal;  modest, hard working, generous, faithful, decent, kind, passionate.... a winner, always in my mind.  He is the Christian that Jesus was instructing us to be and that's what got him in trouble.  Sincerity,   genuine decency, hope for the hopeless, light for the luckless- do not mix with the NFL.    

In my humble opinion.




Monday, April 15, 2013

US Must End War with Itself

Below, published as "My Word" column in April 8 Op-Ed page in the Orlando Sentinel.  


Recently there was an article here in the Orlando Sentinel titled "GOP study:  Party alienates".    I am an "ex-Republican" since 2004, so I was interested in what was upsetting the "GOP" these days and I admit I read the article with gusto.   It mentioned all the usual labels they struggle with; Homophobes, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-science, "party of the rich".  For me, the problem with the Republicans is that they are.... a party.    There's nothing they could do to bring me back because I think the act of governing is almost NEVER "black and white", but to them and their Democratic adversaries EVERYTHING is "black and white".   Both parties alienate!   It is not to their advantage to solve any problems, only to bring them up as the fault of the other party.  These parties are not leading Americans after they are elected they are leading Democrats and Republicans.  We are all victims of a government that is very much at war with itself.   What we need are men and women who can lead us on a path forward to prosperity through effective government that discusses ideas without immediately categorizing possible solutions as "right" or "left" but rather as "effective" or "ineffective". 
There is an initiative going on in our state right now.  It’s called the "The Top Two Open Primary Initiative”.  It aims to enact elections in which all registered voters may participate regardless of political party affiliation. Only the Top Two winners by majority vote would advance to the General Election.    As an Independent, choosing between the two candidates that have already been pre-chosen by the parties robs me of my constitutional right to fair representation.   In recent years these candidates have become more and more extreme to the right and left wings of each party, making the selection ever more odious for moderates.    The "Top Two Open Primary Initiative" addresses these issues.   Ultimately, all candidates would be more tuned into offering realistic solutions to the general population.  This should yield a more “action oriented” and a “results driven” government as compared to the never-ending “dog fight” we’ve all become so accustomed to.      
 We all want the same things; a clean environment, a prosperous economy,   effective schools, a healthy population, peace.  Does anyone realistically think that the major political parties with their child-like tantrums, partisan bickering, lobbyist buddies will ever deliver these things?   The only solution is to end this stranglehold the parties have on power in our country today.     

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Gun Control; Caught in the Middle


The Innocents 



There is a lot of debate lately about what kind of gun control there should be.  Mostly  this has erupted because of the horrific murders at Sandy Hook Elementary, in Newtown, CT.   Murdered six year olds.   As an independent I must first express my disgust at the usual political nonsense that each party puts us through as they posture themselves "against" each other rather than "for" a solution.   Second, I am  disgusted that the NRA has so much power that any talk of common sense adjustments to gun law is eradicated by them and their lap dogs that inhabit Congress.  Third, the right to bear arms was not intended to enable all Americans to be capable of warding off an invading army.  It's meant for hunting, and for self defense.   The idea that we should all be capable of mowing down a line of rebel marines approaching our home with the intent of turning each of us into socialists is ludicrous.  This lack of common sense is what we get when our government is being led by politicians who are all for sale to the highest bidder;  the lame-brained opinions of the political extremes.

To those who buy the arguments of the National Rifle Association.  Those that oppose moving forward and establishing common-sense solutions to "out of control" gun violence simply because they're so worried at the very hint, at a scintilla of control over their ability to buy whatever gun and ammunition accessory they desire,  do so at the detriment of more murdered innocents- be they 6 year olds or 60 year olds.   They are an embarrassment to our nation as the world looks and and wonders what has become of America where even murdered 6 year olds cannot motivate its leadership to action.  Shame on them and their narrow simple minds.

In My Humble Opinion.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Guest Column in Orlando Sentinel





In the past I have posted letters to the editor or guest columns that the Orlando Sentinel has been kind enough to publish- on to this blog.    I was so busy last fall I never got around to posting this one that I wrote right before the election.  Then, when Romney lost I became ambivalent about the whole thing.    In the column (published as a "My Word"column in which everyday folk get to yammer on)  I was implying Romney would be the better choice because I felt he'd be better at compromising with the Democrats., but I was not obvious about that opinion.  I think that's why they published it, subtle is always better in the mainstream world.  Make no mistake, I believe both parties have lost so many moderates that they can no longer govern, but I did think Romney had a better chance of "mending" things than Obama.

Anyway, here is the letter... I feel the overall point is still vital;  the parties stranglehold on power needs to stop.

Published Oct. 31, 2012.... Boo !  :)  


My Word: An independent's view of the election

October 31, 2012|By Charles E. Marshall
As we Americans ponder the election of our next round of leaders, we're said to be further apart politically than ever before. But is this true?
An ever-growing percentage of the population is unaffiliated with any party, so perhaps the country is coming together more than tearing apart. What would be more accurate is that the political parties are further apart than ever. As more moderate thinkers of each party abandon their affiliation, the parties are becoming less capable of ruling with consensus.
As an independent, I would say this is a good thing, but this lack of bipartisan communication between the parties is making our government weak and ineffective because the parties still run the show.
As we choose candidates in these races — both presidential and congressional — it has never been more important that we elect leaders who are willing and capable of reaching across the aisle. It's only with a strong and cooperative leadership that we can overcome the problems we face: the national deficit, unemployment, an unstable Middle East and an increasingly aggressive China and Russia.
But in this divided government, the parties are lurching toward the dire institution that President Washington warned about in his farewell address in 1796:
"However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion."
Another four years of a divided government could be detrimental to our country. We are, unfortunately, stuck with the Democrats and Republicans running the process of governing, but we still have the power to vote for the candidates who we feel are most willing to compromise in the interest of our country. We must demand fair and intelligent leadership that is ready and willing to govern all citizens no matter their political persuasion, even if that means sacrificing some of the ideals that their respective parties hold dear.
After their election, they are no longer representing Republicans or Democrats; they are representing all Americans and anything else is a subversion of the power of the people.
Charles E. Marshall lives in Clermont.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sequester stops Aircraft Carrier from Sailing !




There was an article in the paper that if the self-imposed sequester goes through tomorrow, then a new Aircraft carrier will not be able to be christened on its maiden voyage to the Persian Gulf.  So, our government can't flex its muscle on the world stage because the money's not available.  What's to become of us ?!   I jest , of course, but this begs the question;  "is not having another aircraft carrier really of any  consequence"?  At the beginning of WW II, the United States had the 17th largest army in the world.  In 5 years we went on to defeat two of the world's most powerful military powers, Japan and Germany, at the same time.  I think we can feel confident we're still prepared for most any offense, EVEN without that extra aircraft carrier.  The real truth that neither party wants to admit is we could easily do without much of our military right now and still be safe.  We continue to prepare for any eventuality because a lot of jobs depend on it, not because it's really necessary.  And when that happens, it's a huge problem and a huge waste.  As someone once said, "Justification for a job's existence cannot be so that job can exist".  Yes, the generals and admirals would not like it, and the power of DC would diminish on the world stage, but I don't see the need to always be prepared for ANY eventuality.  Neither party likes the idea of reducing the military too much because it makes them feel strong and mighty to command the world's largest military., but the reality is the people are the true power in our country and their "chest pounding" on the world stage is bankrupting our children's future.   If Democracy is threatened to a significant level with a real military attack on the world stage, I feel very confident our country would rise to the occasion as we always have.  We do not need to ALWAYS be ready for WW 3.   I say, "let the sequestering begin".