By: Lloyd Eckberg
June 25, 2012
Whatever one might say, good or bad, about the Obama Administration there is one unmistakable fact which is as the President’s term begins to wind down a leadership vacuum exists that must be filled by a new and competent administrator in November.
President Obama squandered a golden opportunity, when for the first two years in the oval office he had total power of the legislative, judicial and executive branches of government.
But he never understood the art of governing. He swept into office on a theme of Hope and Change and instead of setting up a cohesive and dedicated force to govern he never changed gears and soon resumed campaigning for a second term of office.
For reasoning yet to be understood, the then President to be Obama was never properly vetted by either the Republicans or the main street media and a relative obscure and unqualified leader was voted into office.
Yes, there were a few million voters who had done their homework and knew of candidate Obama’s inexperience and involvement with people like the Reverend Wright, Tony Rezko and William Ayers but with the tidal wave of support by the corrupt national network known as ACORN and with an existing chink in the armor of the Republican Party at the time, there was no stopping the Obama machine.
When the Democrats controlled Washington, instead of pursuing job generating legislation they embarked on an Omnibus Spending Bill loaded with "Pork", a Stimulus plan with little or no mission for implementation, a Cash for Clunkers bill and then with no good reason proceeded to dismantle the car dealerships of Chrysler and GMC which forced thousands of dealers and their employees out of business.
The ramming through of Obamacare in the middle of the night on a pure partisan closed session vote was the straw that broke the camel’s back and the Tea Party in January 2010 began to rise to the occasion.
By the middle of the summer and into the fall Tea Party organizations were formed by the
hundreds around the nation and they took the message to the Democrat controlled House and Senate members and literally stormed into power on the backs of an uninformed and lethargic group of legislators, and the rest is history.
While the summer employment numbers continue to stagnate a double dip recession is not out of the question. Manufacturing is not hiring and new claims for unemployment continue to rise.
The current administration is unquestionably anti-business and the regulatory agencies continue to pile on regulations at a very rapid rate which discourages growth and sets up an uncertainty as to what the business climate is going to be six months or a year into the future.
President Obama has laid out many precepts and scenarios during his term of office but has failed to carry through with concrete solutions and positive results.
His narcissism seems to get in the way of progress as he employs the blame game at every turn when things do not go as he would like.
Blaming his predecessor George Bush, the oil spill on the Gulf, the tsunami in Japan, the rise and fall of gas prices and other natural events too numerous to mention is no way to govern a country as diverse and dynamic as the United States.
A new leader should take the deck of cards as they are dealt to him and play that hand until he figures out how to make it a winning one.
Turning this country back to a search for personal and economic freedom and a belief that our Constitution is indeed the law of the land for all must be re-instilled into the American psyche.
American exceptionalism is a worthy goal and one that has changed the world over.
During our present leadership vacuum, let us not forget that fact as we prepare to celebrate our independence once again next week.
Community Journal 211
By: Lloyd Eckberg
June 18, 2012
Intelligence, Immigration and Immaturity
President Obama in 2008 promised, if elected, he would have the most transparent administration in history.
He has come very close to fulfilling that vow but in reverse fashion.
Intelligence leaks in this administration have cost the United States credibility throughout the world and we are now in a position that no foreign power wanting to work with us against terrorist threat s have any faith in our ability to keep a secret.
Israel got shoved under the bus by sharing with us how they were going to use a secret base to refuel planes if and when they attack Iran but we leaked the name of the base thus rendering that strategy useless.
It didn’t take long after the Bin Laden mission until President Obama authorized Hollywood movie producers to come in and share information on the raid for a movie which is to be released this October just before the election.
Our inability to keep secret the name of the informant in Pakistan who led us to the home of Bin Laden was a most grievous breach of security and makes the United States look like a weak and unreliable partner in fighting terrorism.
President Obama’s immaturity in knowing how to run a clandestine intelligence operation has cost our country in many different ways.
In prosecuting the war in Iraq and Afghanistan our generals have been made to look amateurish many times as President Obama could not resist announcing withdrawal dates along with laying out our complete battle plans for different phases of conflicts as they progressed.
Unlike any war in history, our enemy many times knew our war plans before the soldiers in the field which leads one to believe our resolve to wage war was much like the Civil War itself by letting both sides have an equal chance at defeat or victory.
Had we been transparent with our secrets during World War II as we have during the present conflict the war would have been over a lot sooner but the flip side of that equation is we would all be speaking German today.
I hope in my day there is never another war but if there should be I would hope the same type of political novices are not there making the decisions.
On the Immigration front the same immature thinking has cast people against people and cultures against cultures.
President Obama promised an Immigration Bill in his first year in office and did nothing but harass and criticize Arizona for trying to do a job the federal government refuses to address.
He spurns any effort to work with Congress to craft any type of plan that would not smack of amnesty which the American people are firmly against.
Instead he waits until the Republicans were nearly ready to announce a prospective resolution that Congress could debate, and in a pure political play for the Hispanic voter he bypasses Congress and issues an Executive fiat invalidating the current law of the land.
In due time Congress will be called on to sort out the President’s action of this order as it will expire at the end of his term.
Even if President Obama should be reelected he probably would not offer a permanent solution other than amnesty to illegal immigrants.
The President’s disdain for the Constitution continues and his assault on the meaning and intention of the founders is an anathema to his thinking as stated in his first memoir the "Audacity of Hope" where he questions the integrity of the signers of the document 200 years later.
While my detractors abhor the thought, the question before us today is, will America remain a Constitutional state or will we morph into a Fascist type government or worse yet a benevolent dictatorship?
By: Lloyd Eckberg
June 11, 2012
Courage and conviction
Chasing a star is a common pursuit.
Politicians through the ages have engaged in the sport but most, in their conquest of the dreams and goals, came up short mostly because they did not have the courage of their convictions to finish the journey.
Two men in the last thirty years have proven to themselves and their countrymen that when they know they are right and they resist the urge to compromise away their principles they indeed can reach their star.
President Ronald Reagan and today’s Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker are two leaders that refused to compromise and cave in to political pressure at the expense of having their dreams dashed in the face of great odds.
Both gained national notoriety on the same issue: Standing firm in the face of overwhelming union pressure at a critical time in their term of office.
In August 1981, in the early days of President Reagan’s elected period the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) violated a U.S. law which prohibited a government union member from striking.
In unprecedented action and in a move that defined his presidency, President Reagan fired nearly 12,000 air traffic controllers after giving them forty-eight hours to reconsider going back to work.
Of the 13,000 controllers at the FAA only 1,300 went back to work but President Reagan stood firm and refused to back down under great pressure from a defiant union committed to shutting down and crippling air traffic in the nation.
It was a historic moment in labor relations and one that continues to reverberate in the work place.
Fast forward to today and we have a sequel to that event in Governor Scott Walker’s eighteen month long rendezvous with big labor and their stormy union bosses.
The Wisconsin Recall of Governor Walker was unprecedented inasmuch as there was no malfeasance of office.
Rather, an effort to keep the state from going bankrupt, reining in government workers’ pensions which had been rising faster than the state was able to keep from more deficit spending, strong action to limit collective bargaining and spiraling pension benefits was passed into law.
While Democrats in the legislature took a hike to Illinois to avoid voting for the new law Walker held firm and took the wrath of union resistence as they began 24/7 occupation of the capitol building for many months.
Governor Walker was elected with a mandate from the voters to stop deficit spending and he immediately began to deal with the core reason for the state’s deficit and declining jobs problem.
Since the law has been in effect jobs have been coming back, the deficit has been eliminated and property taxes have come down as he continues to honor the voters’ wishes.
The Wisconsin Recall, watched closely by every community leader in the nation, is a harbinger for action by everyone facing the same problem.
Walker’s decisive leadership sends a message to all politicians chasing their star to have the courage and conviction to do what is right and necessary to solve complex problems of running a state during a time of economic slowdown.
President Reagan and Governor Walker are unique examples to governing and both blazed a trail toward fiscal sanity and fairness uncommon in labor history that changed labor negotiations in this nation for years to come.
Both men took action when the occasion arose and the echoes throughout the business world have been enormous.
Capitalism works best when men of courage and conviction are resolute in their actions and motives.
Community Journal 205
By: Lloyd Eckberg
May 7, 2012
The countdown is on
Some people will say during each election cycle: This year’s election is the most important in our lifetime, so don’t forget to vote.
In my opinion compared to the present, that cliche has in the past had a hollow ring to it because it was kind of a bipartisan approach to a partisan event and people all too often took the advice with a grain of salt.
The 2012 election is different, very different.
Today there is an uneasy urgency in that admonition about the importance of this years election.
Republicans know, and Tea Party adherents are convinced that America will finally reach the crossroads in November: If President Obama is reelected Socialism will become our way of life vs economic and personal freedom under a Republican administration.
There is validity to that argument as we see President Obama outwardly using executive orders to circumvent a Republican House and a Democrat Senate, whose leader Harry Reid has refused to bring to the floor a budget in over a thousand days.
The fear of a welfare entitlement state under a second term for the president is unacceptable in the eyes of most Americans.
What is the chance that this country will fall in the abyss of a socialistic state ?
Only time will tell.
Now let’s look at some events that might indicate which way the election could go.
First, the overturn of Obamacare would stagger the president’ march to reelection and may in itself be the one key to a Republican victory.
An international incident such as an Israeli attack on Iran could scramble the entire narrative for both parties thus creating a media frenzy causing the electorate to disengage from the election altogether.
It will be interesting to see just how the administration’s attack on the Roman Catholics’ core biblical beliefs will play at the polls.
Demagoguery on the women and immigration issues, the Solyndra scandal, Fast and Furious, the GSA debacle, and a refusal to approve the Keystone Pipeline project have all taken a toll on the president’s ability to corral the independent voter pool.
Most believe the election will ultimately turn on the economy and at this time the economy is not robust and the looming tax increases coming in January 1, 2013 do not bode well for the president.
One thing mainline Democrats and Republicans do not want to see is violence in the streets as currently is manifesting itself in some of the larger cities in the country.
President Obama and Representative Nancy Pelosi have given tacit support to the Occupy movement and both should use their influence to quell this effort for the benefit of all citizens.
There is no place in America as we know it for this type of activity.
Register to vote now and participate in this year’s election on July 31 and November 6.
Community Journal 194
By: Lloyd Eckberg
February 20, 2012
Debt Free America
There’s been a lot of buzz recently about a plan to eliminate America’s debt in one swipe of the pen. It’s a great idea if it were possible but it is a Utopian concept and one in which every person should be aware of as they go into the voting booth this November.
HR1125, known as the ‘Debt Free America Act’ was introduced into the first session of the 112th Congress on March 16, 2011 by Democrat Representative Chaka Fattah, 2nd District Congressman from Philadelphia, PA.
The bill reads like this: "To establish a fee on transactions which would eliminate the national debt and replace the income tax on individuals".
The Bill’s Imposition section reads as follows: "There is hereby imposed on every specified transaction a fee in an amount equal to 1% of the amount of such transaction."
"Specified transaction means any transaction that uses a payment instrument including a check, cash, credit card, transfer of stocks and bonds or other financial instrument."
The exception would be: "A deposit into a personal account of an individual".
"The term transaction includes retail, wholesale sales, purchases of intermediate goods and financial and intangible (stock) transactions".
Liability for fees: "Persons become liable for the fee at the moment the person exercises control over a piece of property or service regardless of the payment method."
"Collection - The fees will be collected by the seller or financial institution servicing the transaction and shall be paid over to the Secretary.
"In the case of a person who fails to collect and pay over the fee as required under this subsection, such person shall become liable for the fee not sol collected and paid over".
HR 1125 has received little traction thus far and will have no chance of passing this session of Congress, however, comments and concerns reverberating around the country intimate that President Obama, if he should be reelected, will make this a signature piece of legislation in a second term.
Fattah, a Democrat, has found yet another way to extort money from the average American’s pocket.
A 1% fee is a tax, but Fattah doesn’t want it described as a tax. It would be like a local option sales tax. It would tend to increase as time went on as the government wanted more money.
The Fattah plan is a regressive tax any way you look at it and the poor and middle class would get hit the hardest.
It would call for more bureaucracy and a bloated federal presence.
As we head into November and the election, now is the time to be asking candidates, including the President, what their specific plan is to reduce the deficit.
There are a number of Utopian ideas out there and we need to know where the politicians stand.
Bills such as HR 1125 sound harmless when first offered up but like a boomerang they have a tendency to circle around and hit you on the blind side and this Bill is just one of those we haven’t seen the last of.
By: Lloyd Eckberg
February 13, 2012
Turkey stuffin’ time
During the 1990's I served on the Georgia Governor’s 40 member Vote Commission.We were given one goal: To recommend a length of time to allow early voting in state and federal elections.
I was the only south Georgian on the panel, and as far as I can recall was the only member to oppose all early voting plans except absentee balloting.
I feel vindicated on my position as it pertains to the current Primary election coming up on March 6.
Although early voting began this week I have no idea at this point who I am going to vote for and I believe it will be on election day at the polls before I make my decision.
The reason is the candidates have not yet begun ‘stuffing the turkey’.
No candidate has defined in detail just where he stands on the major issues of the day which I believe rank in this order:1) A plan to become energy independent during this decade, 2) An immigration policy to close off illegal immigration to the United States, 3) A plan to balance the federal budget and 4) How to unleash the mighty capitalist engine to reduce unemployment to a minimum and return America to its pre-eminent position of power and respect to the world and most importantly to our own American citizens.
While these kitchen table issues in my opinion are the four most important in this election year we must hope that Obamacare is ruled unconstitutional and the Arizona Immigration Senate Bill 1070, is ruled constitutional.
Americans are beginning to awaken as witnessed this week in the Obamacare mandate forcing Roman Catholics to abandon their centuries old religious beliefs to the glory of the state.
Underlying all of our priorities for this election year is the need to understand the intrusiveness of the federal government in the lives of individuals and the state’s goal of destroying an individual’s right to be free of government control and coercion.
All citizens should make sure the general theme of a return to the Constitution is firmly imbedded in the minds of all candidates.A tall order I know but the Republican Party, the Tea Party and the independent voters of this nation know it can and will be done under a new president in November.
It is time to start ‘stuffing the turkey’ with these plans and ideas and in the vernacular of former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi go ahead and ingrain them in the minds of the voters before they are told by the Obama Administration that these things can’t be done.
By: Lloyd Eckberg
February 6, 2012
Federal education-Yes/No-Part II
This is a continuation of the subject "Do we need the Department of Education" asit appeared in Imprimus, a Hillsdale College publication and presented by Charles Murray, a PhD in political science and history graduate of MIT and Harvard who now is with the -American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC. As stated in Part I Murray thinks the Department of Education should be abolished, however he believes the federal government played a positive role initially in K-12 education.
Murray notes the framers of the Constitution had a strong allegiance to the local governments do what they do best, the state and the national government as well and there is no rationale for education to be included in Article 1, Section 8 of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.
In this message we will examine Murray’s question, "So what is the government’s track record in education"?
The good news according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress is that results (1978-2004) of math and reading scores for students in the fourth grade showed significant improvement but diminished in the upper grades.
Murray says the bad news is the baseline year of 1978 is the nadir of the test score decline from the mid-1960's through the ‘70's.
Probably notes Murray, we are today about where we were in math achievement in the 1950's and for reading the story is even bleaker.
The small gains by fourth graders diminish by eighth grade and vanish altogether by the twelfth grade.
Based on a statewide study of all ninth graders in Iowa (1942-1990) the data shows Iowa education had improved substantially from 1942 but when the federal government entered the picture in a big way in K-12 education in 1965 education got worse.
Murray does not try to make the case that federal intervention caused the downturn but the effects of the education act of 1965 during the 1960's did little to change American education.
Rather the Spirit of "Do your own thing" of the 1960's and the dominance of Progressive Education over American public education caused the downturn.
The overall data on the performance of K-12 students gives no reason to think that federal involvement which took the form of the Department of Education after 1979 has been an engine of improvement notes Murray.
Murray discusses at length the effect of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act which cost $19 billion in 2010. While this act has been so ‘famous’ supporters have evaluated the program to an extent that while education has not improved the process of evaluation has become quite sophisticated.
A study of the Department of Education published in 1990 revealed the gap grew rather than diminished from 1986 - the earliest year such comparisons have been made - through 1999.
No Child Left Behind was a Title I program and no one talks about it anymore says Murray.
Murray concludes: In summary the long, intrusive, expensive role of the federal government in K-12 education does not have any credible evidence for positive effect on American education.
Dr. Murray’s entire Imprimus audio report can be accessed at hillsdale.edu/imprimus.
Community Journal 188
By: Lloyd Eckberg
January 9, 2012
Georgia’s economy - Part II
This column is Part II of a continuation of an 18-page economic report on Georgia, past, present and future by Wells Fargo Securities (WFS) fifteen person economic group.
In Part I we gave the WFS overall assessment of how Georgia has weathered the many changes that happened during the past several decades to bring it to a point where major innovations will now be necessary to continue to keep Georgia in the forefront of the nation’s top growth states.
As in Part I, all observations unless otherwise noted are those of the WFS group.
Georgia needs to develop a new growth game plan.
The City of Atlanta was prominently mentioned recently as having the greatest income inequality of any major city in the country. The areas noted as Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, Alpharetta, Vinings, Milton, Duluth and Suwanee lay claim to having the highest per capita income in the state, although most of the rest of the metro area have per
capita incomes higher than the rest of the state.
Georgia’s competitive landscape has changed dramatically as globalization and the IT revolution have created a formidable competitive force that has moved beyond the initial effects seen in Georgia’s manufacturing sector.
The competition for new businesses, workers and residents is now global, and the shortcomings that were overlooked when the rest of the state’s economy was booming can no longer continue to be ignored.
Manufacturers that used to build in rural areas now build them overseas.
R&D centers that were drawn to Atlanta because that is where the workers they wanted were moving, are now locating to areas where they can easily find workers.
Conferences and trade shows once held in Atlanta are now being held in sparkling new facilities in China and India.
Most troubling WFS says businesses and new residents simply are not moving to Georgia and Atlanta like they used to do.
Net migration to Atlanta since the housing bust has fallen from a high of 97,910 residents to a low of 4,925 in 2010.
During the past 30 years migration to Atlanta has averaged 55,000 persons per year but due to the housing bust and a slowing of the numbers of people moving nationwide has dropped Atlanta from the number 7 destination point to 31st in 2010.
Job losses in financial services and construction continue to weigh down the overall employment and Georgia’s economic recovery will be shaped by how well businesses and policymakers capitalize on the competitive advantages already in place.
New industrial investments continue to be a bright spot for the coming years. Currently new development continues from international companies mainly from Korea, Japan and Germany.
Overall economic expansions are coming from current industries at a rate of 67% and new projects, 33%, however new jobs from new and current startups are relatively low.
Tax revenues have improved markedly over the past year however state budget cuts will likely continue to hinder growth throughout the Peach State in the near term.
Georgia’s government comprises 17% of the state’s gross domestic product and is the largest sector in terms of output, expanding about 1% in 2010 but will continue to contract through the first half of 2012.
During the last three years the state budget has been reduced by $3 billion.
WFS economists are optimistic about Georgia’s economy but Defense Department cuts will present an unusual challenge to Georgia’s future economy.
By: Lloyd Eckberg
January 2, 2012
Analyzing Georgia’s economy - Part I
Welcome to the New Year!
Now let’s take peek at the current Georgia economy and see what it holds for our citizens.
On December 21 the Economics Group of Wells Fargo Securities(WFS) issued a comprehensive 18-page commentary on the past, present and future of Georgia’s economy.
All of my comments are attributed to this two-part report.
The real Gross Domestic Product(GDP) For Georgia for 2011 is $369.9B; the Atlanta Metro part is $250.4B. For 2012 projected GDP is $3771B for Georgia and Metro Atlanta is $257.8B.
While growth for Georgia was anemic in 2011, it will not be much better for 2012 and 2013.
However, with guarded optimism WFS economists say beneath the surface a great deal of progress is being made to reorient Georgia’s economy toward areas that are more likely to grow in future decades including advanced manufacturing, international trade, logistics, information technology and life sciences.
Economic activity is on the increase and when revised GDP figures are issued in February or March the 2011 results will be more optimistic.
In the private sector hiring is on the upswing but cutbacks in the government sector, both local and state will keep the unemployment figure somewhat stable and high.
WFS says Georgia’s economy resembles a football team that enjoyed years of prosperity by sticking to a simple game plan: take advantage of a low cost of living and a temperate climate to lure new businesses and residents.
The strategy worked masterfully for nearly 50 years as in-migration swelled the population propelling Georgia to one of the fastest growing states of the nation.
Most of the growth however occurred in the Atlanta Metro area as businesses, professional and service sector jobs mushroomed.
The region attracted scores of Fortune 500 companies; the Olympics came and the Braves won a World Series.
WFS says the success Georgia enjoyed during the boom years glossed over many of the state’s shortcomings, including too much dependence on in-migration flows to fuel growth, a weak secondary education system that consistently ranks below the national average, uneven economic development and a growing income divide between the northern Atlanta suburbs and the rest of the state.
Georgia’s economy became too one dimensional much like a football team that depends on running the ball only. If you have a Herschel Walker that may work but a Walker doesn’t come along every year.
Strong in-migration of highly educated and skilled workers supplied Georgia’s new companies and helped hide some of the deep-seeded problems plaguing Georgia’s rural areas: manufacturing having lost employment precipitously since the advent of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994 and Congressional approval and signing of a permanent trade relations agreement with China in 2000 with the greatest impact on areas outside of Metro Atlanta.
Manufacturing jobs in Georgia have fallen 33 percent since 1994 with three-fifths of that number coming from rural Georgia.
Thousands of workers were displaced and most fled to Atlanta making it more difficult to attract industries to rural communities.
Next week I will continue to explore ways suggested by Wells Fargo Securities to help turn Georgia’s economy around and up.
By: Lloyd Eckberg
December 19, 2011
Obama blocks jobs
The Republicans have yet to name an opponent for the Democrats for 2012 but President Obama has just given the Republicans a number one campaign issue: Republicans know how to create jobs.
Although the current administration jobs bill has moved from the Senate to the House of Representatives it is certain to arrive on the President’s desk this week for a possible presidential veto.
It contains a provision to allow the construction of the Keystone oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico which would immediately make 20,000 construction jobs available beginning next year.
President Obama has already refused to allow the pipeline to move forward so the Republicans called his bluff and were able to put the pipeline project in the jobs bill and thus would give an unexpected victory to the GOP.
For three years President Obama has said jobs, jobs, jobs was his most important goal.
Yet when the time came to create thousands of jobs, at no cost at all to the government, he failed.
Next year President Obama will stump the country and continue to call for jobs, jobs, jobs but many of his faithful followers, such as union members, may just continue as they usually do when their interests trump their party affiliation and vote Republican.
Electing a Republican president next year will assuredly mean an all out effort to bring back manufacturing jobs to the United States.
There is an arsenal of ideas in the Republican camp to bring back the strong growth mode that is needed to cut the jobless rate in half.
To make this happen all of the agencies, state and federal will have to shed themselves of thousands of regulations that currently strangle private capital and initiative.
For instance the current jobs bill going through Congress, with the exception of the Keystone provision and extending the temporary tax break which went into effect for the first time last year contains 1,227 pages which few if any have read.
The content of that bill will have enough regulatory restraints in it to eliminate any possibility to provide jobs other than the exceptions noted above.
However the Keystone provision put in by the Republicans will be a tremendous engine for new jobs growth in the next few years and in the process deny the Chinese from North American oil.
In the spirit of the season I would like to wish my readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
By: Lloyd Eckberg
December 12, 2011
Time for Holder’s exit
When President Clinton pardoned Mark Rich at the end of his term of office in 2000 it was widely believed that Eric Holder made the case for the fugitives’s freedom.
Subsequently Holder was appointed Attorney General by President Obama and ever since his style of leadership in this important post has been under constant scrutiny.
His critics come from both sides of the aisle in Congress as he is being grilled for his lack of cooperation in the current Fast and Furious gun running controversy.
As of this date there are over 50 members of Congress calling for Holder’s resignation and Representative James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin is suggesting that impeachment may be forthcoming if he keeps stalling and stonewalling at the Congressional hearings.
Holder’s reticence in revealing who knew what and when is causing lawmakers and citizens alike pause about the competence and integrity of him and his department’s ability to function as the top law enforcement agency of the nation.
Holder continues to draw attention from legislators during hearings by refusing to release documents and regularly failing to produce evidence by saying he does not remember. In fact he uses that excuse of not remembering so often rendering his presentations suspect.
Troubles for Holder began early after his appointment to the office by not being transparent in his relations with the Congress and investigating committees.
During the 2010 election members of the new Black Panthers were convicted of tampering with individuals at a polling place in Philadelphia and Eric Holder failed to carry out th court order by dismissing the case.
In the Christmas bomber incident Holder allowed the Yemini terrorist to have Miranda
Rights read to him which brought wide condemnation from the public for this action.
Last year Holder determined that the trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed would be tried in New York City for his part in the 9-11 attack. However, an uprising of concern from throughout the nation persuaded President Obama to reverse Holder’s decision and Mohammed has since been sent to Gitmo.
Eric Holder continues to claim President Obama’s confidence and support in running the Justice Department but regardless of that Eric Holder is now on a short leash.
His interference with many Governors and Attorney Generals in numerous states by continually harassing those who believe in less meddling by the federal government keeps Holder on the hot seat at every turn.
While he has one of the most important posts in the government his lack of compassion on many issues of national security and his arrogance in carrying out his duties have made him a very unpopular attorney general.
It will be interesting to see just how much longer President Obama will remain committed to Holder’s philosophy of running the Justice Department.
I believe Attorney General Eric Holder is a detriment to this country and it is now time for him to go.
Community Journal 182
November 28, 2011
De-politicize political wish list
There are many issues President Obama and the Democrat Senate in particular need to put on their Christmas wish list that could easily energize the stalemate present in Washington.
Two items, Energy independence and Immigration reform are holdovers from previous administrations but are nevertheless currently on the radar and carry heavy political risks and potential for economic growth.
While President Obama has done nothing but play class warfare with the immigration problem GOP contender Newt Gingrich has placed the initiative on the table and if his idea gains positive traction immigration reform could be a top gut issue during 2012.
Energy is a top contributor to our debt and deficit and continues to be a political football. The present administration is determined not to attack the root cause of energy independence.
The EPA, an agency within the government, has unbridled power and no one in the agency is elected by the people.
They answer to no one and as long as environmentalists run the agency nothing in the way of solving the energy problem in the United States will be accomplished under an administration that believes only that an alternate source of energy is the key to our problem.
Obstructions to solving the energy issue have a number of encumbrances making it practically impossible to solve during an election year.
The EPA and its intransigeance in relaxing burdensome regulations will not change direction under the present administration.
OPEC with its powerful autocratic rulers has no intention of helping America solve its energy problem and our political influence with this group of power brokers is nil.
Compounding the problem with the EPA and OPEC is our President’s ideology which does not support fossil duel development.
We have hundreds of years of fossil fuel reserves of our own and not utilizing them make it difficult, if not impossible to secure energy independence in the near term.
Solving the energy problem in the United States has both short and long
term ramifications and action needs to be taken on both fronts to forge a lasting and workable solution.
The President could immediately create 20,000 jobs the in mid-section of the country by agreeing to the construction of the Keystone oil pipeline from the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico. The tertiary effect of this action could lower the current unemployment rate as the need for many services unconnected with the pipeline would be created.For the long term there are scores of recommendations that could easily be put into action that would put us on the road to independence in a very short time.
Presently, only President Obama can make this happen.
Community Journal 181
By: Lloyd Eckberg
November 21, 2011
Do nothing Congress...Really?
In Washington the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives are two separate groups and are often referred to jointly as Congress.
Nearly every newscast mentions in some form or another of a ‘Do nothing Congress’ with only a 9 percent public approval.
In fact the President is basing his 2012 worldwide election campaign on that theme.
Like so many other themes we hear in the news the term ‘Do Nothing Congress’ in this instance is just a half truth.
The Democrats own three-fourths of the Washington scene: more particularly the Senate, the Justice Department and the White House while the Republicans hold only the House of Representatives.
One might assume that a Do nothing Congress has not accomplished anything of note.
However, the Republican dominated House has passed 23 bipartisan jobs bills which have been sent over to the Democrat controlled Senate where they are stalled.
The media paints with a wide brush and puts both the House and the Senate in the same boat.
I agree the Democrat Senate deserves no more than 9 percent approval but the House has addressed many of the toughest issues relative to jobs with bi-partisan support and should in the eyes of the public deserve a much higher approval.
The liberal mainstream media has been very effective lumping both the House and the Senate together as one and the same in their reporting.
Senate leader Harry Reid refuses to bring any of the House Bills to the floor and there are many reasons for his reluctance, mostly political.
President Obama is campaigning throughout the country on a Do nothing Congress but he refuses to get involved in the legislative process to move his program forward.
He does not stay in Washington long enough at a time to immerse himself in governing.
Most of the 23 House passed bills deal in part with easing anti-job regulations which was one of the big initiatives of the Tea Party which made their movement so successful in 2010.
The 87 new Republican legislators who came to Washington in 2010 did not go there to sit on their hands and not introduce new legislation to make it easier for the business community to provide new jobs which builds growth for a dynamic economy.
If the media continues their biased reporting which gives President Obama cover in bashing Congress in general many good House members will have their chances of reelection jeopardized all in the name of political expediency.
It happens all the time but those running polls on the Congress are laying themselves open to criticism on the issue because anyone familiar with poll results knows you don’t include two separate programs, groups or issues as one and the same.
Pollsters need to listen up and depoliticize this issue.
Community Journal 180
By: Lloyd Eckberg
November 14, 2011
Jobs and politics
Two of the most compelling words in the lives of many citizens are jobs and politics.
As long as one can remember every election cycle in one way or another comes down to the age old maxim, "It’s the economy stupid".
The coming election in 2012 is no exception. Since the day after the 2010 election President Obama has been in a campaign mode.
The centerpiece of his rhetoric has been Jobs, Jobs and Jobs.
His Keynesian approach to creating jobs has been to expand the government bureaucracy by establishing large government programs to make the government the largest creator of jobs at the expense of the private sector.
When the president nationalized the auto companies hundreds of dealers, many of whom had been in business for decades, were forced to lose their dealerships eliminating thousands of jobs.
Rather than let the free market handle the reorganization of General Motors and Chrysler the unions were handed the lion’s share of ownership of the new companies which was a payoff by the president to the unions at the taxpayers’ expense.
While most of President Obama’s efforts to create jobs have been of the short term variety, his long term job creation has been a venture capital approach to harness solar and wind projects with stimulus funds.
Only a handful of so called green permanent jobs have been created at an enormous price to the taxpayers.
The president’s current jobs program for the most part would create only temporary jobs for a year or so.
What the nation needs is permanent jobs and the Keystone Oil Pipeline project which would run from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico creating 20,000 jobs immediately has been vetoed by the president for the remainder of his first term of office.
He has sold out to environmentalists and his union backers are dismayed.
Politics are in play in South Carolina too as the unions through the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) are trying to shut down the billion dollar investment by the Boeing Corporation which could create as many as 5,000 jobs in that state.
President Obama has the power to reverse that action but due to his beholden to the unions will not interfere with the NLRB law suit.
Free market solutions create jobs. Government intervention into the efforts of employers such as Boeing and Keystone keep American companies on the move to foreign countries and areas offshore.
The uncertainty in the board rooms of American companies today in the anti-business climate created by President Obama will keep the unemployment figures high through the coming year.
November 7, 2011
Understanding mob action
Trying to get a handle on the protests going on in our major cities for the past month is not easy to grasp.
To have clearer meaning of mobs, mobocracy and civile unrest one should read Ann Coulter’s new best seller Demonic.
Thanks to YouTube and the internet we are able to have a more accurate description of what has been unfolding in these protests than if we only listened to the major media networks.
Notwithstanding the fact that there are legitimate issues to be addressed as a result of this Occupy movement, the education establishment has produced a generation of students totally unprepared for their life’s vocation.
Many of the protesters are in their mid to late twenties and if the testimony many of them are making is any indication of the education they have received it may be time to take a good look into how effective higher education is in preparing young people for their future.
A look into the past shows many men in their twenties and thirties had already reached fame in their own right.
Michaelangelo at the age of 33 began painting the fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel; Charles Wesley at the same age had helped found the Methodist Church and had time to write over 7,000 hymns, Hark! the Herald Angels Sing being just one that is revered to this day by Christians worldwide.
Other famous persons: Beethoven, DeBussey, Gutson Borglum, sculptor of Mount Rushmore as well as Steve Jobs of Apple Corporation all became famous in their forties and fifties.and
Our present generation of protesters with a warped sense of how to change society will never help this nation to maintain its greatness as well as keeping freedom from succumbing to socialism and communism.
Few of the protesters who adhere to the mob mentality will aspire to being anybody but angry agitares whenever the occasion arises.
The role of protests in America is ingrained in our fabric and should be encouraged from time to time.
The Tea Party movement is an example of how to mobilize for change. Unlike the Occupy protest, the Tea Party was spontaneous and started as a peaceful force and it ended that way.
Its influence swung an election and its message is resonating more powerfully today than when it began.
With reasonable objectives and a central focus on one theme the Tea Party is methodically reaching its goal.
The anarchy in Oakland, California last week is reprehensible and cannot be condoned under any circumstances.
Nancy Pelosi and some union bosses fanned the flames and the mayor of that city encouraged city employees to leave work and participate in the fray.
It came back to bite them and as a result the largest seaport in the country was shut down and nearly a million dollars in damage was done to the city’s commerce and infrastructure.
If the SEIU and other unions do not come down hard on anarchy with severe penalties then 2012 will become a very bad year for America.
By: Lloyd Eckberg
October 31, 2011
Know your limit
In the vernacular of presidential aspirant Herman Cain, there’s nothing wrong with a little humor and satire.
Picking up on that thought this message will use those two human emotions and teach you a powerful lesson about deficit spending.
Are you ready for this?
During this recession we have fared pretty well in keeping our family spending under control.
But pinching pennies is becoming boring, so I thought we needed to kick start the economy a little and start spending.
Our family vehicles can be replaced for about $50,000 so why not? We talked about adding a new room on the house for about $40,000 so why not?
In a few years we will need a new roof on the house so why wait? That’s about $13,000 so why not?
We have been tent campers for years but some of our friends think we need one of those sleek luxury liners costing about $100,000. Boy this is getting interesting, all these new things.
Now that real estate is cheaper maybe we should pick up a condo at the beach and also a cabin in the north Georgia mountains. That can be accomplished for about $400,000.
My wife is beginning to question how we are going to afford all of these new amenities.
I keep telling her we could get a couple more credit cards and max them out while at the same time taking advantage of some of these 0% down and 60 months to pay plans.
Then too, we could cut down on some of our regular spending habits such as going out to eat.
We could expand the size of our garden by digging up more of the yard and plant more greens and potatoes.
I know all this looks like a lot of money but think how much we can improve the sluggish economy.
President Obama seems to be getting away with it. Maybe we could form an E-SPLOST which stands for Eckberg-Spend Please, Let Obama Stimulate.
We need to do these things NOW, or we may never have the opportunity again.
Well folks this projected spending of an additional $603,000 which we do not have to spend at this time is akin to the federal government’s spending spree it has been on for the last three years and just as our government is going broke, my plan will do the same for my family if I don’t have the fortitude to say we can’t do it and won’t do it for the sake of our own good judgment.
We as individuals, families and governments must do a better job of knowing our limits and deciding how to better allocate our limited resources to remain solvent.
Community Journal 177
October 24, 2011
The CLASS Act
A little known sacred feature of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act(PPACA) officially labeled Title III, The CLASS Act legislation which is better known as Obamacare erupted on the political scene during the past couple of weeks and threatens the very life of the PPACA if the Supreme Court doesn’t do it first.
CLASS stands for Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act and officially went into effect on March 23, 2010 following the Christmas Eve passage of PPACA on December 24, 2009.
In a rush to judgment in 2009 in order to push the legislation forward Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, under pressure from President Obama, declared The CLASS Act measure would be completely paid for and would not cost taxpayers ‘one dime’.
The legislation was intended to be voluntary to allow enrollees to purchase Long Term Health Care similar to the way 401-K plans work.
After paying into the plan for five years recipients would be fully vested in the plan and thus eligible to receive lifetime benefits if they were unable to perform work due to disabilities or sickness.
Advocates of CLASS Act said it would reduce the deficit because people would not be able to draw Medicaid if they were on this plan.
Both Democrats and Republicans smelled trouble with CLASS Act because it being a voluntary plan would only be attractive to people who had conditions that would place them as beneficiaries at an early age causing the plan to be financially unsustainable in the long run.
Estimates of $79Billion a year would be collected and since no payments would be paid out for at least five years these collections would be used to fund Obamacare.
Senate Democrat Kent Conrad called it a ‘Ponzi’ scheme because premiums collected during the vesting period would be counted and used as revenue rather than being placed in a special trust.
In April of this year Republican Senators John Thune and Lindsay Graham introduced legislation to repeal the CLASS Act citing the possibility of it becoming another uncontrollable entitlement and because it was determined to be a ‘financial gimmick’ to manipulate the Congressional Budget Office to fund Obamacare.
On October 14, Housing and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced what Republicans have known for three years, the Obama Administration would have to abolish the CLASS Act because it was an unsustainable program for implementation at this time.
The question begs: will Obamacare be far behind for abandonment as the United States Supreme Court determines the constitutionality of this bill?
By: Lloyd Eckberg
October 17, 2011
Rolling the dice
There are a lot of ruthless tyrants in the world today and it is too bad there is no way other than armed conflict for the most part to get rid of them.
I am opposed however to the United States going after many of them in the fashion we seem to be employing at the present time.
As if we didn’t have our hands full in the Middle East, President Obama has introduced our nation’s finest in a neighborhood tribal confrontation in Africa against a guerilla group called the Lords’ Resistance Army.
He says the 100 troops assigned to Central Africa will be serving as advisers only and will not use force unless it is in their own defense.
I am having a hard time trying to figure out why the most powerful armed force in the world sees the need to interfere in a local tribal skirmish without some public dialogue and commitment from Congress.
Would those 100 troops being assigned to the Sudan be better utilized in our war with the Mexican Cartel?
For instance, what do our generals say is in our national interest?
And do we have to get involved right now in another conflict in another country when we have so many irons already in the fire?
Vietnam started out the same way and the scenario in Africa seems to have the same attributes for an escalated and protracted war.
At a time when our defense establishment is under heavy scrutiny as far as budgets and defining their primary mission are concerned, I am perplexed as to why we are looking for new initiatives when we are mired down in not only Afghanistan and Iraq but in Libya and on the U.S.-Mexican border.
It would be well if the American people could get a handle on just what is going on in our foreign affairs especially as it relates to the area of armed conflict.
President Obama does not have the best record when it comes to foreign policy and action.
What are his priorities? What are our priorities as citizens who pay the bills and experience the grief when fallen and injured soldiers are returned home?
We need a more stabilized foreign policy and we are traveling in the opposite direction at this moment.
President Obama and his administration are deeply involved in a number of possible criminal investigations as a result of mismanagement of taxpayer funds and it would be wise for him to lay aside campaigning for next year’s election and stop obligating new programs which we cannot afford or explain reasons why we should be getting more involved in unnecessary ventures.
Rolling dice is for use in a crap game, not running a nation.
October 10, 2011
Time for Holder, time to folder
There’s a time to holdem and there’s a time to foldem. To paraphrase, there’s a time for Eric Holder and now is the time to fold him.
Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General in the U.S. Justice Department, is one of the most dangerous and questionable persons to hold that position of trust and it is time for his ouster.
Holder’s rise to fame began in President Clinton’s last hour in the White House when he convinced the President to pardon fugitive Marc Rich who had been indicted in 1983 on tax evasion charges among other things along with another person, Pincus Green.
Rich amassed a fortune as a Commodities trader and had attracted a lot of attention in his public dealings while in prison.
Rich fled to Switzerland where he could not be extradicted to the United States after which President Obama appointed Holder the new Attorney General of the United States.
There was substantial opposition from both Democrats and Republicans surrounding Holder’s nomination and it has haunted the Administration ever since.
Now, Holder is deeply involved in the Fast and Furious scandal involving the death of Brian Terry, a federal agent in Arizona at the hands of the Mexican Drug Cartel.
Holder claims to know nothing about the clandestine program of giving guns to the Mexican crime lords until very recently and his conflicting statements to Congress and the news media have implicated him while his opponents circle the wagons.
In a column entitled "Tempo is about to change," which I wrote in this newspaper before the 2010 election, I stated that Holder’s actions would soon come under intense scrutiny when the Republicans won the House of Representatives, which they did, as California Representative Darrel Issa would be heading up the House Committee on Oversight to investigate Holder and his questionable dealings at the Justice Department.
Presently Holder is stonewalling the Congressional investigations by redacting subpoenaed documents and issuing statements such as "I cannot remember" thus raising eyebrows all over Washington.
But Issa said in a statement last week there is high evidence Holder is involved in a possible cover up and the truth will come out in the end and as head of the Justice Department he will be held accountable.
Holder’s department is coming under increasing fire from all sides as the voter intimidation scandal of 2009 involving the New Black Panther Party was swept under the rug and the case was dismissed from prosecution.
Other adverse actions of the attorney generals office are causing a lot of trouble for President Obama in his reelection effort.
Among those are:
(1) Holder’s insistence that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed be tried in a New York civilian court rather than in Guantanamo.
(2) Holder’s recent statement that Gitmo would be closed by the end of next year.
(3) Public statements from former employees of the Justice Department claiming racial policies favoring one group over another.
(4) His continuing harrange of former CIA agents by failing to drop charges over interrogation methods during the Bush Administration.
(5) His bungling of the Underwear Bomber case.
Eric Holder seems to be disconnected from the cutting edge of activity in his department and continues to embarrass his department and President Obama in the execution of his 2012 reelection campaign.
The sooner Eric Holder is dismissed the better off the country will be for all its citizens.
By: Lloyd Eckberg
October 3, 2011
Obama’s triple whammy
The Republicans are currently in a tizzy as to who will be their standard bearer for 2012 but their concerns pale in comparison to those of President Obama and the Democrats.
Notwithstanding the fact that the President’s poll numbers are tanking and his second stimulus proposal is going nowhere, his major obstacles to reelection are enormous.
President Obama will have to wrestle with bad economic numbers, a budding Solyndra scandal which is almost guaranteed to have gigantic repercussions, and most bothersome, will be the broiling Obamacare
health measure known as the "Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act" passed by a Democrat controlled congress in December 2009. The 11th Appeals Court of Atlanta dealt a blow to the measure when a divided court declared the Act unconstitutional earlier this year by striking down the individual mandate, saying the Congress overstepped its authority, thus siding with the 26 states that sued to have the Act ruled unconstitutional and keep the law from taking effect.
Due to the impact the Act could have in overhauling the entire American landscape the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) asked the court to send the measure to the Supreme Court for final adjudication as quickly as possible.
The Obama Administration did not ask for further review, thus the Supreme Court will take up the measure during the fall session of the court and render a decision next June, right in the middle of the election season.
Obamacare is causing much consternation and confusion in the marketplace as businesses around the country are seeking amnesty from the measure and most states which would have major exposure in making the new act operational are dragging their feet in preparing for the inauguration of the new law in 2014.
Many believe if the Supreme Court rules Obamacare unconstitutional it will be a body blow to the administration and make the President’s reelection impossible along with the bad economy and the impending Solyndra scandal which is tied to the national debt.
Election rhetoric in 2012 will be heavily laced with action to relieve thousands of new regulations put into place during President Obama’s term.
Of course Obamacare would, by most calculations implode the healthcare system with new bureaucracies, rules and regulations promulgated by those who have little or no experience in free market economics.
Other regulations under fire which have been placed on business and industry are The Sarbanes/Oxley law of 2002 which was designed to ferret out unscrupulous dealings in public corporations, the Dodd/Frank Wall Street Reform and Community Protection Act which has over 1,000 regulations attached to it.
Along with rulings from EPA, the Education and Energy Departments to name just a few the 2012 election is building up to be one of the most significant in U.S. history.
The call for less regulation is reverberating throughout the country at fever pitch at this moment and it will be interesting to see how the electorate responds in next year’s election.
September 26, 2011
Focus on the goal
Jockeying for position in the Presidential sweepstakes for the 2012
Republican nomination has finally begun in earnest.
The left wing of the Democrat party has their candidate but many straight line Democrats are not so sure at this point about supporting President Obama and are showing signs of revolt.
Although not much has been said in the media, falling poll numbers may bring on some competition for that post during the first half of the New Year.
Democrat pollster Pat Caudell is on record supporting another candidate for the party.
It is doubtful that will happen but with thirteen months to go before election anything is possible in this zany election cycle.
The Republicans will soon solidify their support on one or two candidates and the talk of a real split between the independents (Tea Party) adherents and the established party machine are not likely in the end.
While much banter is going on among all factions of the Republican Party there is one encompassing goal and that is the defeat of President Obama.
Focusing on a singular goal, be it in business, religion or politics is a powerful force for success and at this time in the election cycle no one can question the resolve of Republicans and Independents alike for a change of leadership in Washington.
President Obama, rather than putting politics aside and staying in Washington to work on the jobs issue, is out of town campaigning hard for the same old issues of class warfare that has put his administration at risk this far into his term.
Whining and yelling "pass this bill now" is not resonating well as a campaign theme and is very un-presidential and unlikely to stir anybody to action.
Former Arizona Governor Johnson during the Fox News/Google candidate debate in Orlando last week made the most poignant remark when he said, "My neighbor’s two dogs last year
created more shovel ready jobs than did Obama’s" (actions).
The roar of the audience was a reminder that nothing has been done in the past three years to address the real jobs problem.
A bid to produce a European Socialist form of government in the United States is being rebuked at every turn.
The Solyndra scandal has scuttled the idea of Green jobs as a replacement for free market economics.
Until stability is restored in free market solutions to our problems of unemployment, energy independence and an educational system devoted to teaching work fare rather than welfare our confidence as a nation is going to continue to decline.
Community Journal 172
September 19, 2011
Hoping for Change
A presidential election cycle is much like a football game: there is a first half and a second half, each consisting of a term of two years.
The first half of President Obama’s term trumpeted the
phrase "Hope and change."
The second half belongs to the Republicans and with a little rearranging of deck chairs the current rage has brought out a new cry aptly called "Changing for hope."
With an army of academics and socialists in the current cabinet and bureaucratic czars, President Obama nearly toppled the American capitalist system in the first two years of his presidency.
His ability to appoint non-elected and in many cases non-confirmed members of his administration has created a regulatory atmosphere in Washington which is an anathema to creating jobs and economic freedom in the working place.
Almost every program of this administration can be classified as a "job killer" if for no other reason than they have come with regulations that tend to strangle growth at the expense of a free market solution.
At this time it is reliably reported that ten new regulations on business are being promulgated every day.
In the last two and one-half years over 2,500 regulations, mostly labeled as being anti-business related, have been applied by various regulatory agencies.
Many economists and scores of other leaders, political and private alike, are estimating that if Obamacare should not be ruled unconstitutional that one law could cause a deeper recession than we have currently.
The uncertainty of whether or not Obamacare will go into effect in 2014 has caused great consternation in the market place.
As of this moment nearly 2,000 companies have applied for and been granted amnesty from Obamacare which is a telling signal that the measure as written is an anti-business effort to thwart the hiring of workers to fight the current nagging unemployment situation.
Notwithstanding, the current scandals and potential criminal conditions existing at Solyndra, Evergreen Solar and several other Green Job projects having gone bankrupt with public money, there is no doubt why legions of Independent voters along with Tea Party Republicans and many straight line Democrats are looking forward to 2012 under the mantra of a new theme "Changing for Hope".
Community Journal 170
By: Lloyd Eckberg
September 5, 2011
Are you a Tea Party believer?
Well over a year there has been some question as to who are these people who call themselves supporters of the so called Tea Party.
Followers of this movement know it is not a party in the truest sense as there are no defined leaders, dues or rules as to who may want to be a part of this recent phenomena.
Many citizens may be Tea Party supporters and not realize it.
If you question your political beliefs take a few moments to take the following test to determine your very own personal Tea Party IQ.
1) Do you believe Obamacare should be ruled unconstitutional? Yes-No-Maybe(Y-N-M).
2) Do you believe the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) should have the power to prevent Boeing Aircraft from opening a billion dollar manufacturing plant employing 1,000 people in South Carolina, a Right to Work state? Y-N-M
3) Do you believe America is moving toward becoming a welfare state? Y-N-M
4) Do you believe the Stimulus was a big success? Y-N-M
5) Do you believe after ten years since 9/11 that the five co-conspirators of the nation’s worst terrorist attack it is time to place those responsible on trial? Y-N-M
6) Do you believe President Obama has the executive skill and experience to lead the country out of the current recession? Y-N-M
7) Do you believe after three years in office the Democrats should have presented a budget to Congress? Y-N-M
8) Do you believe spending is out of control in Washington? Y-N-M
9) Do you believe the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing too many job killing regulations in this time of recession? Y-N-M
10) Are you generally opposed to raising any taxes until spending is under control? Y-N-M
11) Do you favor additional nuclear power plants being constructed in the U.S.? Y-N-M
12) Do you believe a comprehensive energy plan needs to be developed in the U.S.? Y-N-M
13) Do you believe the current moratorium on new drilling for oil, gas and oil shale exploration is in the best interest of energy independence for the U.S.? Y-N-M
14) Do you believe the current administration’s jobs program will lower the jobless rate within the next year?
15) Are you registered to vote in the 2012 election? Y-N
16) Do you plan to vote in the 2012 election? Y-N-M
If you voted NO on questions 2-4-6-13-14 and YES on 1-3-5-7-8-9-10-11-12-15- and 16 you are a true blue adherent of Tea Party values.
I’ll let each individual determine by their own answers as to what degree of Tea Party affiliation they have attained.
To all new converts to the Tea Party philosophy please know you will not receive any requests for dues or political contributions.
By: Lloyd Eckberg
August 29, 2011
Pick your blame
President Obama took off for a ten day vacation in one of the posh resort areas of the nation and lo and behold the country began to disengage.
Like the Tea Party explosion of a year ago, this August too was eventful because so many pressing problems surfaced all at once.
The President failed to send the Colombia and South Korea Trade Bill to Congress before both parties took recess and the President refused to call the legislators back into session to finish the ratification process.
The jobs numbers continued to worsen, and the Fed Chairman shocked the administration by notifying the President there would be no more stimulation of the economy until 2013.
The polls had the President slipping to 36 percent approval and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta declared Obamacare unconstitutional.
An earthquake shook Washington and the worst storm in decades was destined to hit the .
California has the San Andreas Fault and some GOP detractors might even say the quake that hit D.C. was a Bush Fault or maybe just Asphalt.
If ever a time the President, and Congress too for that matter, needed to be at their desks in the capital it was the month of August, but there were no takers who wanted to spoil their hard earned time off to attend the important and pressing issues of the day.
The blame game is in full swing in Washington and no one wants to accept blame for anything but when credit is being doled out the line forms at the rear.
Everyone I speak with believes the 2012 election will be the most negative, mean spirited and blame game election in history.
President Obama has notified the nation that George Soros type organizations, public sector and SEIU union members will be fully energized to batter the Republicans on all fronts.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters, in her denial of the independent Tea
Party rush, said last week the Tea Party can go to "Hell" and she will help them go there.
Following her speech a number of other Tea Party antagonists have begun blaming the Tea Party for the impending double dip recession and any other ills that might befall the nation.
Unlike the union mobs that besieged a bank executive’s home and held his son hostage in a demonstration last year, followers of the Tea Party movement, I hope, in next year’s election will have the decency not to do pay back when these types of demonstrations occur, which incidentally they inevitably will.
My challenge to all Tea Party colleagues is not to revert to union mob tactics which unfortunately are being organized in certain states and election districts around the nation at this moment.
Tea Party advocates come from a wide swath of divergent interests and social and political philosophies, thus have a higher calling than organized mobs.
Community Journal 168
August 22, 2011
Earth Summit Agenda 21
Agenda 21 is a global action plan of the United Nations. The 21 refers to the 21st century agenda of the UN.
It had its beginning inin 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and its mission is related to "Sustainable Development."
Agenda 21 is a comprehensive blueprint of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the UN, governments, and major groups in every area in which humans directly affect the environment.
According to the American Policy Center awareness of Agenda 21 and Sustainable Development is spreading across the nation as citizens
in community after community are learning what city planners are up to as they implement its program.
The term Sustainable Development was first produced by the UN World Commission on Environmental Development authored by Gro Harlem Bruntland, VP of the World Socialist Party.
The term became official policy of the UN in 1992 in a document called UN Sustainable Development Agenda 21.
Richard Raines of Valdosta, a Lowndes County Commissioner speaking before the Thomas County GOP on July 19, brought the group information about the UN’s attempt to discourage private ownership of property as well as promoting equality of equity ownership of all 178 member nations resources, United States included.
Working through local planning and zoning groups around the country, the UN’s mandate of Sustainable Development is being installed right under our noses says Raines.
Although implementation of Agenda 21 is voluntary, Raines believes the assault on private ownership of property is one of the main goals of the UN group, as well as to limit exposure of human beings to the natural resources of the nation.
Recently in the news have been countless examples of local municipal planning groups trying to subvert Eminent Domain to implement Sustainable Development in order to confiscate private property for redevelopment for private rather than for roads, bridges and other infrastructure uses.
Agenda 21 has been criticized by libertarians, economic conservatives and many other groups in the United States as being a threat to our national sovereignty and needed industrial and technological development.
Raines maintains the ultimate goal of Agenda 21 is to downgrade the United States to a level of third world countries and a collapse of our capitalist system as we know it today.
Although Congress has not yet affirmed Agenda 21 as a requirement for Sustainable Development as outlined in UN directives, Raines believes the goal is to have the United States fall in line by first working through local planning agencies.
Community Journal 165
By: Lloyd E.
August 1, 2011
Fifteen Months and Counting
Steve Wynn of, a CEO in the gaming industry, has been a big supporter of President Obama. He says the President is a Socialist and is presiding over the most anti-business administration in history.
Wynn makes no apologies for supporting President Obama in the past but his disdain for the Commander in Chief at this moment is clear.
He claims the President does not appreciate or understand the free market system and his assessment of the President is not an isolated rebuke.
The leftist Press and many of the President’s loyal supporters are becoming more disenchanted as the months roll by.
President Obama’s campaign rhetoric is about jobs, but nothing he does even begins to address the subject. He has loaded up the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) with union cronies, and the entire business and industrial community is befuddled by the administrations’s mission to create jobs.
The Boeing Aircraft Company has spent a billion dollars trying to create thousands of jobs in South Carolina and the union laden NLRB has placed the entire venture in question.
The failure of the administration to step in and call off the union’s objection to the Boeing project has created doubt in the minds of thousands of businesses in the United States as to the efficacy of building new facilities and expanding operations in this country.
The bigger question at this moment is how long will Boeing remain an all-American company?
Then there is the situation with the President’s Economic Council where many of his appointees have left the administration because of the lack of something to do. In fact at one point the council had not met in over 30 days while the unemployment rate continued to climb.
President Obama’s Job and Economic Council head is Jeffrey R. Immelt, a solid political backer who serves as CEO and Board Chairman of GE.
Mr. Immelt has been under considerable criticism in this job and just last week announced that GE is going to hire 2,000 more workers.
That’s fine but all of the new jobs are going to China, not exactly what the Chief of the President’s Jobs Council ought to be trumpeting.
Noteworthy job losses occurred with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Thousands of jobs have been lost, not necessarily from the spill itself but because government regulations and prohibition on offshore drilling have sent hundreds of drilling rigs to other countries due to inaction and hesitation to re-institute drilling.
We have no comprehensive energy policy that encourages fossil fuel development, which if unleashed could make us independent of foreign oil in less than a decade.
The debt service issue is a side issue causing more angst than it should but the Democrats have not presented a budget to Congress since President Obama was elected. That fact alone gives many to claim that the current administration is indeed anti-business.
Can we wait until November 2012 to change our government back to a market driven jobs producing economy? I sure hope so but at this moment we are, Fifteen Months and Counting.
By: Lloyd E. Eckberg
July 25, 2011
Faster than light
A recent article in the Times-Enterprise by columnist Walter Williams was an eye opener about the lack of training and education young people are getting on the founding of this country.
Citing the lack of knowledge about this country’s past, Williams refers to a survey which showed that only 28 percent of students could identify with the Constitution as the supreme law of the land.
Only 26 percent of the students knew that the first 10 amendments to the Constitution are called the Bill of Rights.
Fewer than a quarter of all students knew that George Washington was the first president of the United States.
There are many reasons and questions not yet answered for this ignorance on the part of the students’ curriculum today.
I suspect the fast pace of innovative communication may be part of the problem people today do not learn or retain the reasons for America and its laws and customs.
I was astounded at some of the findings in last year’s annual report of the Sony Corporation that I like to refer to as Faster than Light.
Let’s look at a few startling statements which should amaze the average person trying to figure out what this new age of technology is all about.
Sony says the top 10 jobs of 2010 did not exist in 2004.
One in four people have been working in their present job less than one year.
One of eight couples now meets online.
Before Google, for radio to reach an audience penetration of 50 million people it took 38 years; it took television 13 years; it took Internet 4 years, IPOD and Facebook 3 years.
Text messages on the internet now exceed the population of the entire planet.
There are now 540,000 words in the dictionary, five times the number of words in the period of Shakespeare.
Technology according to Sony doubles every two years and a student entering a four year technical degree program in college today will be studying information that will be out of date in three years.
By 2013 a new super computer will be developed which will exceed the capability of the human brain.
There are 31 billion Google searches every month and there are 200 million users on Myself; many believe new communication breakthroughs are still on the horizon.
Back to Walter Williams for a moment.
Does anyone ever stop to think that maybe the information overload flooding the minds of our youth and society as a whole has distracted historians, education and political leaders, parents and others from teaching and promoting the basics of a free society?
The threat to our constitution and the capitalist system is under attack from many angles but just plain ignorance of the needs for our youth to learn how our economic system is supposed to work is rampant in today’s society.
If we are not careful the next generation will have lost their heritage, ‘Faster than light’.
Community Journal 162
July 4, 2011
Who and what am I?
Last week we had to rush our twelve year old grandson Noah to Archbold’s Urgent Care Center for a few stitches in his head.
When the doctor asked what happened, Noah replied, "My little brother hit me with a goose."
On first blush one might jokingly tend to say, "Why that idiot!" The role however could have just as easily been reversed had the other brother had the stuffed goose in his hand first.
Tossing around barbs is an American sport.
Not too long ago in the Times-Enterprise Rant and Rave column someone called me out as one of the three village idiots.
Randy and Mark were the other two identified.
I immediately thought, that person can’t even count because it takes one to know one and that adds up to four.
In his first sermon a couple of weeks ago our new minister, Ronnie Wills let us know that the theme of his ministry at Thomasville First United Methodist Church during the coming years will be, "Know who you are, and you will know what to do."
I have been in deep thought about that statement and I think what Wills was saying is that each person must answer for each act, thought or deed that they do and if they know who they are their actions will define the results of their conduct and behavior.
Since we all live in ‘glass houses’ we never seem to entirely understand that throwing stones at one another is like tossing a boomerang which will come around to haunt you.
In today’s media world I am chagrined to see and hear so much trash talk.
We live in a world where obscene words and actions are part of the news and opinions of people we normally look to as role models for good living.
Obscene language, accusations and deeds are many times painful to listen to and watch as all communications emanate from somewhere and someone.
One must wonder what type of families produced such vile and immature thoughts and actions of many of our leading commentators, actors and TV and radio personalities.
Was there a Judeo-Christian influence in the lives of those people or have they learned to act or verbalize in such a manner in order to become popular or yes, even rich?
In the Bible, the Commandment "Honor your Mother and Father" seems to have gotten lost in the secular world in which we live.
In just one generation we have strayed from that time honored phrase all too often and our society is worse for it.
In last week’s column I used the word "Hell" and my wife who edits my writings questioned me about using it.
My answer was, "It just seems to fit." Not a good one I know but one that I could live with.
Vile language often seems to be the hallmark of many people’s success.
But I am constantly reminded of two of the biggest and most successful movies ever produced, Gone With the Wind and The Sound of Music. They are the epitome of decency in an industry that hardly recognizes the word.
And when we refer to the good ole days we have these two outstanding examples of "when you know who you are, you will know what to do".
By: Lloyd Eckberg
June 27, 2011
Governors taking command
The Executive branch of the federal government and a Democrat Senate continue to twiddle their thumbs on deficit reduction while newly elected Republican governors of several states are making it known they are living up to their pre-election ‘no new taxes’ rhetoric to bring their state into fiscal balance.
Republicans were elected on the basis that cutting spending, eliminating unnecessary regulations and providing jobs are the keys to work our way out of recession.
Most Americans are now aware that excessive spending and onerous regulations are killing the entrepreneurial spirit and dragging the economy toward a double dip recession.
In the meantime Republican Governors Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Chris Christie of , Mitch Daniels of Indiana, John Kasach of Ohio, Bob McDonald of Virginia, Rick Perry of Texas, Rick Scott of Florida and Bobby Jindol of Louisiana have, within the last six months since the November election, put in place measures that are changing the political and economic landscape of their respective states.
Rick Scott of Florida is getting pounded in the press for killing jobs yet more new jobs were created in Florida in May, more than in any other state in the nation.
Scott has eliminated 1,100 regulations that were declared unnecessary and unemployment is down.
Scott Walker has made monumental changes in Wisconsin while the Democrats took a hike and fled to Chicago as union mobs from several states occupied the Capitol in protest.
Nine Senators, six Republicans and three Democrats, are facing a recall election on August 9 but the best guess is that Walker’s reforms are paying big dividends as new business is beginning to flourish once again in Wisconsin.
Chris Christie in New Jersey has made the loudest noise in bringing reforms in that state’s pension system and although he has become unpopular he has forged a bipartisan group to pass some very strong measures to correct the debt problem in that state.
Mitch Daniels in Indiana watched his Democrat legislators skip the state but he has received high praise for the reforms he has instituted in that state. His controversial measure to de-fund Planned Parenthood is causing great anguish.
John Kasach in Ohio has passed a vast reform package in that state and as he says, "We have just begun to turn this ship around."
Rick Perry of Texas is getting the most rave reviews at the present time as Texas has created 37 percent of all new jobs in the United States during the past year.
Along with removing a bevy of cumbersome regulations on job creating businesses he is being highly touted as a potential Republican candidate for the presidency.
Bob McDonald of Virginia and Bobby Jindol of Louisiana have both been extremely active in creating a business friendly atmosphere with the prospects of bringing more jobs to their states.
The common thread running throughout the governorships around the country is testimony to the fact that too much power lies in Washington and these governors mentioned are determined to see that states’ rights are restored through adopting adequate measures to insure a healthy environment for businesses to prosper.
Community Journal 160
By: Lloyd Eckberg
June 20, 2011
Headwinds of mob rule
During my lifetime I cannot remember another election cycle that started as early as the current race for the White House.
Due to the length of the campaign season the tactics of both parties may become very nasty and toxic and in order to preserve our tradition of electing our leaders in a peaceful process may be severely tested.
Ann Coulter has just published a new book entitled Demonic.
It is a fascinating book about mob violence and crowd psychology as interpreted by Gustave LaBon, a late nineteenth century writer on the subject.
I am currently reading it and would at this point commend it to anyone who is interested in the inner workings of propaganda, crowd control, how mob violence gets started and such.
We see what is happening at this moment in Greece and other countries when the comfort level of the citizenry is disturbed and we wonder just how long it could take for that same condition to come to America.
Maybe some have been as disturbed as I am when I see a caricature of Paul Ryan pushing an elderly woman off the face of a cliff on television.
This is a blatant effect of trying to create hysteria which no one in their right mind condones. However, it is a powerful message presented by those of a mob mentality.
My question is this: who is the woman in the ad and who would allow a political message like that to be presented to the public in such a fashion?
The ad is very real. It shows a very distressed woman, probably in her 70's or 80's with cute pink bedroom slippers struggling not to be pushed off the cliff.
That has to be a real person, someone’s mother or sister, as they show a close up picture and whoever is responsible for a cruel hoax like that ought to be reprimanded.
It is nothing more than a pure play on propaganda which is a form of communication designed to influence certain segments of the citizenry and scare hell out of the rest of us.
Not all Democrats subscribe to this type of mobocracy but the Liberal Press are masters of it.
Whether you like Sarah Palin or not is immaterial but you can see what a demonic, left wing press can do to a person’s reputation.
They have practically destroyed her political career and their most recent effort to rummage through her emails while Governor of Alaska is just another example of a witch hunt to intimidate her more.
Two of the most prestigious left wing news outlets, The New York Times and the , sent out a bulletin throughout the nation to help them go through the 24,000 e-mails and report any salacious material they could find in which to rap her over the head once again.
There are 14 million unemployed in this country and an administration with no clear direction in where this country is going and two of the main newspaper firms in the country have nothing better to do than enlist a mob to help them with their ratings.
Despicable is too kind a word for their actions.
Where are the New York Times and the Washington Post as we near the deadline for keeping our nation solvent?
AWOL - Absent without leadership.
Community Journal 159
By: Lloyd Eckberg
June 13, 2011
The Fairness Doctrine, renamed
What the Obama Administration cannot push through the Congress they are determined to do by administrative action.
Just as the FCC) is trying to close down Talk Radio in America.(NLRB) is trying to block Boeing Aircraft from opening a manufacturing plant in Right to Work state South Carolina through administrative action, the (
Eliminating Talk Radio is a number one priority of President Obama and he is determined to have it done prior to the 2012 election.
To ease the pressure on those trying to keep Talk Radio on the air, the proposal is to not use the term Fairness Doctrine but instead promote the term ‘Localism’.
President Reagan during his term eliminated the Fairness Doctrine and ever since the liberal establishment has been trying to reinstall it and now they have a plan.
The idea is to set up Community Advisory Boards who would regulate programming of all Talk Radio according to James C. Roberts, president and founder of Radio America.
The Boards would be appointed by the Obama Administration and would contain members who would be opposed to Talk Radio.
For those who may not be familiar with the Fairness Doctrine(Localism) concept it simply stated says for every statement made in support of Conservative values on the air an equal amount of time must be given to the opposition.
This process would stop Talk Radio in its tracks as we know it today.
It is no idle threat: President Obama will do everything in his power to eliminate this method of communication which has been a stalwart against government corruption and socialist ideas and legislation.
The new FCC Chairman is Julius Genochowski who clerked in the Supreme Court for liberal judges William J. Brennan and David Souter.
His first appointment upon being named chairman was Mark Lloyd, FCC Chief Diversity Officer, a Senior Fellow of the far left Center for American Progress funded by the infamous George Soros.
Lloyd has stated his focus is not on "freedom of speech or the press, as this freedom is often exaggerated."
Lloyd co-authored a report entitled, "The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio". He has said that radio stations that do not comply with the proposed new rules should be fined and the proceeds given to National Public Radio.
Radio America is not sitting still as talk show hosts of radio stations throughout the nation see the coming storm as it applies to their industry.
In a campaign to thwart the FCC, those supporting free speech and talk radio are pushing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner to block funding for the FCC.
"Localism" sounds reasonable but it is not. It is just a ruse and another avenue being used to silence Talk Radio and free speech in America.
Community Journal 158
By: Lloyd Eckberg
June 6, 2011
Who actually cut Medicare?
One of the first things a Republican president should consider when elected in 2012 is to restore the $500,000,000 thatcut from the senior Medicare program with the passage of Obamacare.
I know, most citizens of this country believed that Paul Ryan pushed the old lady off the cliff but wasn’t it really President Obama?
This example is the irony running through the political atmosphere at the present time.
The Democrats have launched a national demonization effort that will serve as a benchmark for the President’s election campaign that will only intensify and get more bizarre as we move toward 2012.
America must wake up and seek out the truth if we are to have an honest and meaningful campaign.
Paul Ryan has a plan, something the Democrats do not have and apparently are not expected to present one prior to August 2 which is the date that a vote will be taken to increase the nation’s debt limit.
The Republicans have made it clear to the President and the Congress that if the debt limit is raised it must contain a like amount of cuts in spending.
The only plan the President proposed was voted down last week and the process from his side of the aisle is dead in the water.
The Democrats have not produced a budget in the last two years and the Republicans forced through a budget for 2011 against the wishes of the House and Senate Democrats as well as the President.
The Democrats have not presented a budget for 2012 and there seems to be no movement toward one although Paul Ryan has already produced one for the Republicans which has already passed the House of Representatives.
Last week I wrote that the Administration was running on fumes and I believe now the fumes are beginning to flicker out.
The Republicans with strong Tea Party urging have bent the spending curve and with some support now coming from many Democrats who are concerned about the condition of the country are calling for cuts that the Aministration is unwilling to consider.
Monetizing the debt has come to an abrupt halt at least for the time being.
Quantitative Easing 2 has expired and Quantitative Easing 3 and 4 are not about to happen.
The Republicans have a full hand at the table right now and the Democrats are empty handed when it comes to a plan for job growth, an energy policy that grows the economy and Immigration Reform.
Unemployment’s rise to 9.1% is a good indication that more and more spending has not worked.
The active jobless rate, the underemployed rate and the long term overall structural rate of those who have given up looking now hovers around 25 percent of the employable work force.
While cutting spending is a top priority, the need to reign in regulations on incentive job producing methods is a vital concern and needs immediate attention.
Regulations and out of control spending are stifling the free market system in America.
Community Journal 157
By: Lloyd Eckberg
May 30, 2011
Running on fumes
It’s an old cliche: when your gas tank says empty and you are running fast to get to the service station you might say you’re running on fumes.
Regardless of the bin Laden event President Obama in my opinion is running on fumes.
His political tank is empty and there is no major legislation currently on deck which contains his footprints.
In fact session two of the 112th Congress does not have a single signature initiative authored by the president.
He has jumped the gun and has begun his campaign for reelection with nothing on the slate to prove to his followers that he deserves another term.
Here is why I think President Obama is in trouble and will not be reelected next year.
First, he is running around the world trying to build goodwill Obama style and it is not working. Our relations with Israel are strained to the limit and he will surely take a hit from the Jewish community for his support for the Palestinians.
Iran is the biggest problem in the Middle East and nothing President Obama says or does is going to change with that country.
His relationship with England from the day he entered office has shown to be an albatross around his neck. His very first action after assuming office was to send a gift, the Bust of Winston Churchill, back to England saying it wasn’t wanted. Later his handling of the Prime Minister’s visit to Washington was a deep embarrassment to the country and just last week his talking to the Queen while the country’s national anthem was being played showed him to be a cultural illiterate.
Secondly, on the home front President Obama will not present the Congress with an energy plan that could jump start the labor market in the energy sector because of his belief that renewable energy is the way to go while we have more available coal, oil and gas reserves to make America energy independent within a decade.
Thirdly, he pretends to want to fix the immigration problem but rather than present a plan for Immigration Reform he goes to El Paso and makes a purely partisan political speech demeaning the Republicans and did not have any intention of bringing forth a workable plan for the Congress to debate.
The big bear in the china shop is the debt problem which he has offered no potential solution other than to raise taxes.
The debt ceiling has been reached and he has offered no plan to deal with it other than to let Congress vote to not raise the ceiling after which he will be able to campaign against a Congress that does not want to move the country forward.
President Obama is not governing from the White House as he should be doing but is out of the city and the country much of the time that could be used to solve some of our deep and troublesome problems that are currently failing the nation.
President Obama’s tank is running low and is now operating on fumes. Judgement day is coming and it is only eighteen months away.
Community Journal 156
By: Lloyd Eckberg
May 23, 2011
The Spizzerinctum factor
Sometimes we use words that don’t mean what we think they should but they just seem to fit the occasion.
Recently, Roy Campbell and I had just heard Herman Cain give an electrifying speech at the Georgia Republican Convention on the current political landscape and I mentioned to Roy that Cain’s speech had some spizzerinctum.
He said, "I heard you use that word before Cain spoke and I just wondered what it meant as I have used it myself."
Well I thought the word just denotes and contains some zip and fizz to it and it summed up exactly what I gleaned from his delivery.
Back home I could not find the word in two different dictionaries or on my computer spell check so I tried Google and that drew a blank also.
I finally looked in theand yes, it is a word and it means ‘ambition, vim, energy or a will to succeed’.
Looking over the current list of contenders and would be contenders for the Republican 2012 election campaign there seems to be plenty of qualified candidates which theprocess will sort out and bring forth the top candidate in due time.
At the recent Republican state convention inwe heard two main speakers among a list of about ten during the two day affair.
Newt Gingrich announced his candidacy for president that week and delivered the main speech one day and Herman Cain the next.
Gingrich delivered his usual effective message to an appreciative audience of 800 and Cain spoke the next day before 1,820 delegates.
Cain was interrupted with four standing ovations during a 15-minute address and you could feel the electricity in the air for the rest of the convocation.
You might say Cain’s speech contained spizzerinctum.
All politicians contain a lot of hot air. During a campaign they take on an extra amount so the jets function properly at all times.
In that hot air there must be a message that resonates with the public if they are to succeed.
That message can be the greatest in the world but if it does not contain spizzerinctum it may as well not be delivered.
A case in point is Newt Gingrich and his historically correct academic approach to politics and what is needed to change our government for the better.
His message is top rung and there probably will be no other candidate including President Obama himself who can effectively debate Gingrich on merit.
However, his delivery is muted and he cannot seem to inject any spizzerinctum into his message.
Although I believe he is now a marginal candidate who will be unable to attract the tea party crowd, I think his constant message during the primary season will be an effective tool against anyone who wants to let his or her message drift a little to the left.
Michele Bachman has spizzerinctum along with Cain,, and shows flashes of it from time to time.
In the meantime as candidates begin qualifying for the 2012 race be sure to check out the spizzerinctum factor as you make your judgements.
Community Journal 155
By: Lloyd Eckberg
May 16, 2011
Fifteen minutes of fame
at times acts like little more than a glorified carnival barker.
The president was in command at the time of bin Laden’s demise and the country gave him high marks for his part in that effort.
For one of the few times in his presidency he seemed to extol the virtues of a commander in chief who was governing, although he had just before the bin Laden moment announced that he was running for a second term of office.
Nothing wrong with that of course but before the froth disappeared from the bin Laden incident he announced that he was going to El Paso, Texas to lay out a strategy to jump start the process of comprehensive immigration.
This is where the wheels began to fall off the cart.
His lack of follow up on the bin Laden operation began to take on a surreal effect as leaks began pouring out of the White House detailing every minute action of the event which compromised much of the intelligence gained from the raid.
The forum in Texas was used to lambast Republicans with snide snippets of hypocrisy and disjointed false statements and they rolled off his tongue reminiscent of his campaigning for his election in 2008.
For instance he said the border fence was "basically complete" which is nowhere near the truth. Only 600+ miles of the border contains a fence.
There has been a buildup of measures along the border which has been underway for over ten years and the border is as porous as ever.
The administration has fought the efforts of states such as Arizona while the Governor and other leaders of the state including Senators McCain and Kyle have fought in vain for more troops to reclaim our sovereignty in that region.
As this was the first time President Obama had visited the border he gave no sense of direction or developed any strategic plan to settle the immigration issue or satisfy those states in the region that the border ever would be secure as Arizona leaders in particular have been calling for.
His mockery of those who oppose his policy on the border is childish and extremely unpresidential.
His air of intimidation such as referring to ‘alligators and a moat’ leaves many cold and disgusted with his approach.
Of course everyone knows why he went there to make the speech. He believes it improves his chances with the Latino voter in next year’s election.
But his support for those voters has been slipping recently and his blatant effort to embarrass the Republicans is wearing thin with that group and he just may be losing more of those voters than he suspects.
On the heels of the bin Laden affair he muffed a great opportunity to stay on course and remain above the fray of partisan politics.
He clearly did not endear himself to many on that trip, and the economy is not improving very much either.
Had he stayed in the Oval Office, where he seldom can be found, he would have elicited more support for his presidency than he is currently getting on the economy.
By: Lloyd Eckberg
May 9, 2011
Media’s unbridled power
It matters little what we as individuals think about issues that are important to our country or the world.
If you question the validity of that statement just sit back and look how the mainstream media let us know what they want us to know.
Last week you had two choices: either watch the Royal Wedding or watch the terrible devastation of the tornadoes that ripped through the Southland.
These two events captured the imagination and concern of a majority of citizens and for good cause.
But then came the news of the killing of Abbottabad, Pakistan and zippo, just like that and just as quick, we saw no more of the wedding or the tornado disaster for several days.in
Toward the end of the week the tornado devastation began working its way back on to the airwaves but the wedding was nowhere to be found and the bin Laden story still dominated the news.
For over a week now, the news cycle has been predetermined and there is nothing we as individuals can do about it.
Soon politics will once again come front and center and until another momentous event happens we will be spoon-fed a healthy dose of politics, whether we like it or not.
Well how did we all fare during the big three news events?
For the wedding, I woke up at 6:30 a.m. vs 4 a.m. for my wife and just caught those magic words, "I do". Then I fell back to sleep.
The tornado disaster was different. While the storms were going on I could visualize what might be happening in communities across the area and I was concerned.
I called my son who was in the middle of Tornado Alley and I couldn’t get through so the concern began to grow until he called us later that night.
From that moment on we became riveted to the news bcause it all looked so terrible and as everyone was aware, loss of life and the destruction of homes, businesses and cities were at stake. We’ve seen this scenario played out many times before.
Now we have to contend with the aftermath of the bin Laden affair.
Conspiratorialists are crowding the editorial pages and opinion segments of television and people are getting confused about what or what didn’t happen.
Polls are being taken for each and every part of the mission of the Navy Seals and everyone is expected to believe what they want to believe.
Personally, I think President Obama is right in not releasing the photos of the deposed murderer.
We don’t need to give him any more exposure than he has received during the past 10 years.
The Commando Raid was a masterful stroke and is a testament to the quality and expertise that resides in our military.
The War on Terror has extracted many of our civil liberties but the price of freedom comes at a cost and until terror is brought to a halt we are going to lose more of our freedoms as time goes by.
America has a decision to make as it regards such tactics as waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation tactics.
The media will determine some of these methods for us but as free individuals we must still make our voice heard and speak up whenever we believe we are right.
Community Journal 153
By: Lloyd Eckberg
May 2, 2011
Tornadoes, Politics and SPLOST
The women’s celebration aka Theconcluded and I thought it was time to get back to politics inasmuch as the president has continued his campaign which seems to be nothing more than a carryover from 2008.
However, the tornado disaster throughout the Southland, in just a few short minutes has turned our attention to the devastation and turmoil which that vicious storm produced.
Although we are not in tornado alley we did get a good sample of how destructive nature can get as we witnessed in Thomasville a few years ago.
When a disaster strikes close to home it has a special meaning and the twister that killed 35 in Smithville, Mississippi, population 1,000 struck near my wife’s hometown.
I got to thinking that we have about 1,000 residents in Lake Riverside and to lose that many people in our small area would be a devastating event.
I do not fear tornadoes but I do dream about them very regularly and have since my smallhometown in 1943 was struck by two twisters converging just before they hit the town.
Within the immediate area 105 people were killed and when the first newspaper report came out listed number one on the death list was Delores Arnold, my childhood girlfriend.
The death toll of this storm would have been greater had it not been in an area where many first generation Italians had settled.
It seems this particular group of people settled in the town and began building their homes but could not afford to build a complete house in the beginning so they first built their basements and lived in them until they could afford to complete their home.
Thus when the storm hit, with just a minute or less notice they went to their basements where many were saved.
While my sister still lived in this town our family had moved away just three weeks before, but it was still my hometown that had been hit.
The thing I do remember most when my family arrived there the next day was that my sister was safe.
People in the town were in shock and the area hit was as bare as the desert: not a tree, bush or complete building was standing.
The most impressionable moment that I remember was at noon the next day as we walked several blocks to the affected area was the Salvation Army had already completely stocked the basement of the church which was next door to our former residence.
I am sure the Salvation Army is making that same commitment felt today in Alabama and the other affected states.
Our churches and other organizations throughout the country will be called upon to assist in this current disaster, much as they were after Katrina.
America’s capacity and spirit to work through disasters such as we have today is enormous and we all must examine ourselves to see how each individual can help.
During my unsuccessful bid for the County Commission race a number of years ago one of the planks in my platform was to examine the feasibility of establishing a tornado alert system, especially for the rural areas of the county.
I think it is time to do that and we might even want to determine if using the SPLOST would be a viable way to finance it.
Think about it.
Community Journal 152
By: Lloyd Eckberg
April 25, 2011
Change is transparent
Sometimes we experience change and don’t realize it has happened until suddenly it has and we wonder how was that?
My good friend Brad Foskey shared an example of change we can live with but it is a little scary why and how it can happen unnoticed.
It seems if you start with a cage containing five monkeys and inside the cage, hang a banana on a string from the top and then place a set of stairs under the banana, before long a monkey will go to the stairs and climb toward the banana.
As soon as he touches the stairs, you spray all the other monkeys with cold water. After awhile another monkey makes an attempt with same result: all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Soon when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it from reaching the banana. Now, put the cold water away. Remove one monkey from the cage andreplace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and attempts to climb the stairs.
To his shock, all of the other monkeys beat the stew out of him. Afteranother attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs he will be assaulted. Next, remove another of the original five monkeys, replacing it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm. Then, replace a third original monkey with a new one, followed by a fourth, then the fifth. Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs he is attacked.
Most of the monkeys that are beating him up have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs. Neither do they know why theyare participating in the beating of the newest monkey. Finally, having replaced all of the original monkeys, none of the remainingmonkeys will have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, none of the monkeys will try to climb the stairway for the banana. Why, you ask? Because in their minds...that is the way it has always been! This, my friends, is how Congress operates... and is why, from time to time,all of the monkeys need to be replaced at the same time.
"That’s the way it has always been" is a stock phrase used by all of us when we think that it is hopeless to go down that road again.
The big mistake we make is not being able to understand what an impact a little new air, light or time can have on a tradition or the way something has been done in the past.
A current example is the idea that a government shutdown will not work because it failed to work in 1995.
A new attempt in a different time will most always produce different results. Just because it wouldn’t work before does not preclude it from working now.
Past images and experiences are powerful forces, some bad and some good.
One should not let the past dictate the transparent conditions that inevitably occur as life moves forward.
Community Journal 151
By: Lloyd Eckberg
April 18, 2011
A lost tradition
This is Holy Week on the church calendar: a time when Christians throughout the world celebrate the life and death of the risen savior, Jesus Christ.
In my church a daily observance includes a light luncheon and a short message at noontime to honor the occasion.
It is a significant program and has a lot of benefit for a personal relationship with God.
As important as Holy Week is to those who participate in the various programs of the church, I began to think of two other days of the year that hold as much promise to one’s soul as does Easter.
In Ephesians in the Bible the first commandment of promise states, "Honor your Father and Mother".
Honoring one’s father and mother can be a most rewarding experience if one’s attitude is in tune with a belief in human dignity.
I think society in general has lost a lot of respect for mothers and fathers, although these two days one in May and the other in June, are still important days in the lives of most Christians and non-Christians alike.
As a child I recall that Mother’s and Father’s Day were celebrated and not with just a card.
I remember my father making sure that on both of these days we observed the occasion by wearing a boutonniere in honor or memory of our parents.
A red rose or flower meant that our mother or father was living, and wearing a white flower indicated they were deceased.
As kids we always looked forward with much anticipation to wearing our red flowers as both parents were alive.
And Dad was especially proud to wear his white flower.
Throughout history parents have been very special and important people and whenever occasions arise to let them know our respect for them, we are all too anxious to do so.
Today, I think most children have the same thoughts about their parents and we can only hope that the parents have the same thoughts about their children.
We are always amazed and dazzled by so many parents who are whisking their children to and from so many activities.
We wonder how they do all they do for their children but the ones we personally observe at Sunday School and Church and at the YMCA are the lucky ones.
Picking up the newspaper or listening on TV we realize that life around the world is not the same as it is in Thomasville and Thomas County.
Young parents today have a tremendous challenge in rearing children and we don’t envy them in their pursuit to bring them into adulthood.
Getting back to the subject of this message, let us all reflect on a lost tradition of honoring and remembering our parents.
Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are fast approaching and it might be a good time to reinvent the wheel and wear a red or white boutonniere on these days to show respect and honor to the most important people in our lives.
Community Journal 150
By: Lloyd Eckberg
April 11, 2011
Absent With Out Leadership
The acronym AWOL is well known to every veteran having served this country as meaning Absent With Out Leave.
Anyone having paid any attention to politics in Washington during the past few months knows that AWOL has changed its stripes and stands for Absent With Out Leadership.
The Democrats I have known down through the years must be chagrined at the lackadaisical manner in which President Obama is carrying out his duties as chief executive of this nation.
In what is undoubtedly the most perilous time in our nation as far as our financial condition is concerned, President Obama has been completely disconnected from the problem.
While the Congress struggles to bring our finances back into order, President Obama is on the campaign trail more interested in winning the 2012 election than saving this nation from financial ruin.
In a disingenuous statement made a few days ago he said, "Congress should have passed the 2011 budget three months ago".
Where were he and the Democrat controlled House and Senate back in October when budgets are generally approved for the coming year?
The Republicans have presented their 2012 budget while the 2011 budget process still languishes in Democrat hands.
The Democrats did not approve last year’s budget in a timely manner nor have they presented a counter budget to the Republicans for 2012.
A month ago President Obama appointed Vice President Biden to work with Congress as the chief negotiator for the 2011 budget.
Biden called one meeting then took off for Finland and his contribution to the negotiating effort was nil.
As the witching hour approached for a government shutdown President Obama took off to Brazil to work on a treaty and a vacation with his family.
Sensing outrage from the electorate he cut short his trip and returned to the United States.
As one witching hour passed another one approached and in true campaign mode President Obama took off for New York to talk politics with his buddy Al Sharpton.
Again he recognized his indiscretion and returned quickly to Washington and called for a late evening budget conference with House Speaker John Boehner and Senate leader Harry Reid.
Dereliction of duty certainly applies to President Obama as it applies to the financial crisis in which we currently find ourselves.
He has failed the test of leadership on the budget and his intransigence and laying blame on the Congress and the Republicans does not square with the average American who must look to Washington for leadership.
Community Journal 149
By: Lloyd Eckberg
April 4, 2011
Lies and half-truths
The late John Turner, former Ford dealer in Thomasville, once told me an amusing story I have chuckled over during the years.
It seems that St. Peter had quite a long line formed at the Pearly Gates and those at the rear became concerned when way up at the head of the line every so often large groups would start clapping their hands and then the line would move up several paces.
A messenger volunteered to go up to the head of the line to see what all of the commotion was about.
Excitedly he came running back with a big grin on his face and yelled to the crowd, "They ain’t gonna count lies".
Well, some of our government officials need to take heed of that story and begin thinking about all the innuendoes and half-truths that comes spitting out of Washington.
The official government figure pegs unemployment at 8.8 percent. It is pretty well understood by the average citizen it really is double that number. Just because a person does not receive unemployment benefits does not mean that he or she is not unemployed. Why do they refuse to report the actual number of people unemployed rather than just those receiving unemployment benefits?
We are told there is little or no inflation at the present time.
Yet we are on the cusp of runaway inflation when it comes to the very essentials that every working person and retired person as well has to deal with on a daily basis.
Coyly the government exempts energy and food from the Cost of Living Index which completely distort the household budget of everyone regardless of their income.
Just the high increases in those two items within the last three to six months have destroyed most of the discretionary income of the average worker.
That discretionary income is what keeps most main street businesses alive and going.
Would it scare the life out of everyone if the true inflation rate was known?
The problem is government spoon feeds just enough pablum to the populace to keep them from getting politically active.
It is exactly what spawned the Tea Party movement and as long as the government continues to hype and spin lies and half-truths the Tea Party movement will flourish.
Randy Evans, a writer from Atlanta, corresponds with me and in his latest letter he makes an observation which explains why the public is confused about the war in Libya.
Evans asks several questions which I will condense in favor of time and space.
He says, "Why Libya? Why now? Is it about imminent threat to the United States? Is it about following the lead of the French? Is it about weapons of mass destruction? Is it about furthering the cause of world peace? Is it about preventing human suffering? Is Qaddafi to go or to stay?"
We have not been told why and more disturbing than that, do our leaders really know what our mission is or how long it will take to accomplish the mission, whatever that may be?
What is Libya all about is the question all Americans want to know.
Does the Administration know or are they giving us lies and half- truths hoping something good will come of their actions.
It is time to fish or cut bait.
Community Journal 148
By: Lloyd Eckberg
March 28, 2011
Water or gas
During a trip to the grocery store last week I noticed that a gallon of water was 99 cents.
I don’t know whether that’s a good deal or not.
It reminded me of the time during the early part of World War II when my dad pulled into his favorite gas station and told the gas attendant, who incidentally owned the station, to put in a dollar’s worth of gas.
My dad stood there with the dollar bill in his hand and the attendant began filling his tank and it took only 99 cents worth.
Seeing that my dad had a dollar in his hand the attendant said I’ll just spill the other penney’s worth out on the ground to make it an even dollar.
He did just that and my dad said, "Here’s the dollar and that’s the last damn dollar you’ll ever get from me."
My dad never went back to that station even though the owner had been a friend of my dad for years.
That was then this is now.
The price of gas is all over the place and the price of water likewise is all over the place.
Both have become valuable commodities and when we are out of gas or out of water we could care less about the price. The main thing is, we want to be able to get it and get as much of it as we want when we need it.
` My wife likes to buy water in a bottle. She thinks it quite the chic thing to do and could care less how much it costs.
I detest having to pay for water regardless of how thirsty I am because I know I can get all I want at home for nothing. And to get charged for it in a restaurant is an abomination.
With gas though it’s a different story.
At times I would have paid ten or twenty dollars for a gallon of gas if only I could have had it then.
I have been extremely lucky during my life because of my ability to run a car on fumes.
I am reminded of the time we ran out of gas in front of Big Lots on East Jackson Street and we began to coast through the intersection on a green light when all of a sudden I spotted the entry way to Wendys and turned in there and just drifted right on down through their parking lot into Jack’s Service Center, rolled down the window and said, "Fill’er-up".
Then there was the time going through Columbus when I looked down at the gas gauge and it said empty. So I turned off at the Macon Road Exit and went up the hill looking for a station and just as I got to the top, the car stalled. I just coasted down the other side of that hill and when the car rolled to a stop I just had to walk about 50 feet to the nearest station.
It gets even better than that but I will not bore you with more miracles I have experienced along those lines.
Seriously though, availability of water and gasoline on a local, national and international level is something almost everyone is deeply concerned about today.
We see how one catastrophic event in Japan can make us think hard and long about our.
We see how one or two small citizens’ uprisings in a far off land can affect the price and availability of gasoline for our automobiles.
While gasoline was once 5 gallons for a dollar it very easily could be $5 a gallon in the near future.
Conserve we must both water and gasoline, because of all the complexities of life we are still beholden to simple things like gas and water, something that we have for too long just taken for granted.
Community Journal 147
By: Lloyd Eckberg
March 21, 2011
Good news, bad news
The bad news is that gasoline will probably go up in price as the year wears on.
Where it will stop is anyone’s guess but as long as it goes up in price, discretionary income of the average worker gets squeezed because gasoline is so very necessary in our daily lives that other things we may want or need must take second place to that commodity.
The good news is that a couple of weeks ago we made a trip to Savannah and gasoline in Thomasville was the cheapest stop on the entire route to and from that city.
Thomasville gas was pegged at $3.34, Valdosta was $3.44 and several towns along the way were as high as $3.49.
This is welcome news because for too longin Thomasville ranked among the highest places in the state.
As I wrote this column the local price was $3.33 and my wife remarked that was sure a good deal.
For years after I first came to Thomasville, gasoline was always $.15 cheaper per gallon than in Tallahassee.
Then several years ago that trend took a big reversal and people wondered why.
We never could find out but we were led to believe that the price was figured on what the traffic could bear.
I don’t know how long the traffic can bear the present price.
If it jumps to $4 or $5 per gallon which many predict could happen due to the situation in Libya, Japan and our own government’s failure to produce an energy program we will be in big trouble.
Allowing drilling without long delays and interference from the EPA and environmental groups who are opposed to domestic drilling and the unleashing of our vast natural resources of coal andin particular, is key to turning our economy around.
A week or two ago a representative of the company that has received the first drilling permit for oil in the Gulf of Mexico since the oil spill disaster said in a radio interview that the permit to start drilling again totaled 3,600 pages of redundant documentation most of which was unnecessary and had little or nothing to do with safety precautions relative to the drilling.
That is one big reason why so many domestic drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico have left the United States for foreign waters.
The federal bureaucracy is our biggest impediment to freeing ourselves from foreign oil.
The current administration has no coherent energy program either short or long term other than dependence on solar and wind turbines.
Hundreds of years of fossil fuel reserves are located in the United States, mainly coal and natural gas and the current administration is dead set on letting these assets twist in the wind at the expense of the everyday consumer of gasoline to use to get to work on a daily basis.
With energy plan that won’t take thirty years to accomplish the desired results for ., creeping inflation, high unemployment and the threat of another war on the horizon, it is time for an all out blitz to produce an
In the meantime fill up on that cheap Thomasville gas.
Community Journal 146
By: Lloyd Eckberg
March 14, 2011
Who’s laughing now
For lo these many years we have yearned for politicians following their election to go to Washington and change the chairs on the Titanic, not just rearrange them.
Finally, under the umbrella of the tea party movement we have a group of patriots who have been elected and thus far are determined to uphold their promises to the people.
I think one could say following decades of promises, promises and more broken promises by both Republicans and Democrats alike quite a change in the political landscape is taking place.
The Tea Party movement acted as a catalyst and conduit for the Republicans and one might say the GOP has been given an exceptional chance to redeem itself under we have never before encountered.
Finally, the 87 new Tea Party converts are making their influence felt and establishment Republicans are falling in line with their leadership experience to change our way of governance.
One thing that has been a pleasant surprise for the Congressional Tea Party members is the tremendous leadership being shown by the new Republican Governors.
In fact their assault on the old spend and spend way of government has been nothing short of phenomenal.
Governor Mitch Daniells of Indiana, John Kasich of Ohio, Rick Scott of Florida, Chris Christie of New Jersey, Andrew Cuomo of New York, Bob McDonell of Virginia and Tim Pawlenti of Minnesota are blasting their way through years of decadent bureaucratic rule to forge a new political landscape designed to restore financial health to state governments.
All of a sudden the voter has an opportunity to see what honorable committed public servants can accomplish if only the electorate will try to understand why discipline has to be installed in our respective state legislatures.
The President Obama has energized Union workers throughout the nation to show up on the streets of cities throughout the country to try to stop the new initiatives of Republican Governors but what they have created is an awareness for the public to see how unions have been milking the system for their own benefit, all at the expense of the taxpaying public.with the urging of
In Wisconsin for example, union thugs from states other than Wisconsin have entered the fray and created near anarchy in the state capital proper which is something new in American politics.
It is hoped that this type of behavior does not take root in other states as elected leaders attempt to bring their state budgets in line with reality.
Once those running for state offices around the country realized the Federal Government was broke they began to think about solving their state’s problems themselves.
The Governors of New Jersey, Florida and Minnesota have turned down or canceled large projects which would have impacted negatively on the respective states had they been allowed to be completed.
These actions by these governors took extreme courage and commitment on behalf of their electorate to turn away federal dollars which would have affected state budgets as well as the federal budget.
On the national scene the Republicans will for the first time in several years operate on a budget, something the Democrats could not produce.
Political history is being forged in state capitals as well as in Washington and we can only hope it will continue.
Community Journal 145
By: Lloyd Eckberg
March 7, 2011
Stagflation is an economic term that was coined during President Jimmy Carter’s term in office back in the late 70's.
It is named that in times of combined high inflation and high unemployment which causes, severe problems in the market place.
We may not yet be in a period of pure stagflation but we are approaching it at a high rate of speed and it’s not pretty.
A sequel to that condition of the 70's is the leadership style of Democrat politicians in Wisconsin and Indiana which has caused a vacuum in governance.
It is noteworthy that Democrat legislators in both Wisconsin and Indiana left their homes at about the same time and the conditions for their leaving are similar but not the same.
While going to Illinois they escape the arm of the law and do not have to go through the act of legislating new measures to help stem the tide of red ink that each of the Governors inherited upon assuming office in their respective states.
The (so called) leaders in each state have abdicated their responsibility to the voters who elected them.
They have violated their oath of office to the state and to the Constitution by failing to show up for work as they were elected to do.
They epitomize a condition I like to call "Stagflated Leadership".
Early in President Obama’s term Attorney General Eric Holder in an address to the in Washington referred to a certain group of Americans as cowards.
He was roundly criticized for those remarks at the time but in retrospect he may have had in mind a certain group of legislators from Wisconsin and Indiana.
In light of last year’s elections along with conditions coming unglued in thethe time for ducking out on the responsibility for governing is not now.
Aided and abetted by organized labor these absentee legislators have done severe damage to the legitimate labor movement in America.
It can be said that the Union Bosses have spread fear among union workers throughout the country claiming they are losing their right to bargain with their employers.
That is not the case however as in the Wisconsin example union workers will not be forced into unions to pay forof which they do not wish to support.
Union membership would be voluntary on the worker’s part.
If the unions do not relent, many good public servants will lose their jobs and those causing the problem have yet to realize that an energetic and committed Tea Party generated Republicans are determined to put this country on a sound financial footing both in the statehouses around the country as well as in Washington itself.
My advice to the tone deaf Democrats who are AWOL report back to duty at once and move on to the bigger problems facing their state and nation.
By: Lloyd Eckberg
February 28, 2011
Wisconsin Dead Bolts
Regardless of the outcome of the actions of the Wisconsin Senate the Democrats’ flight out of state to avoid voting on legislation is a chink in the armor of the democratic process in America.
The Scott Walker so they picked up their marbles and left town., aka Dead Bolts by some commentators, didn’t like the legislation proposed by Governor
The Senators were elected to serve and like cry-babies if they can’t have their way they just won’t stick around and do the business of the state which they were elected to do.
Leaving the state to shut down government should not be allowed. In fact, legislators in both Wisconsin and Indiana have violated the ‘rule of law’. The ‘rule of law’ is, you get elected to serve in the legislature and you’re supposed to be there to cast your vote regardless of whether you like the measure or not.
The unions have stirred the pot in states throughout the country and as a result have laid bare the fact that public sector employees who belong to the NEA and SEIU have benefits far and above what employees in the private sector are getting.
There is nothing wrong with one group of people getting more than another but in the current case before us, taxpayers are having to pay what many feel are exorbitant wages and benefits from taxpayer dollars.
Now that this has been brought to the attention of workers throughout the land there is an uproar and outrage at the difference between public sector and.
Private sector unions only count for about 7 percent of the workforce while count for over 30 percent throughout the country.
President Obama who was elected in large part from the support of public sector unions has been extra friendly to these groups since he entered the White House.
Richard Trumka, President AFL-CIO, says he is in contact with the White House on a daily basis and Andy Stearn, the former SEIU president, had been a visitor to the White House 56 times until his recent retirement since President Obama was elected.
Unions contributed $400 million to the 2010 Obama campaign and President Obama has already said he will raise $1 billion for the 2012 campaign.
One of President Obama’s campaign promises to the unions was to install Card Check for the unions to be able to automatically enroll non-union workers in unions.
Union officials are trying to have the EPA set up Card Check but if that should happen there will be a real fight in Washington.
The unions are under siege in many states due to the budget shortfalls occurring in almost every state.
With the cat out of the bag so to speak on the onerous union rules and their stubborn refusal to have them cut back, the unions are under intense scrutiny as they engage in future negotiations with state legislatures.
Rank and file American workers are now taking aim at union influence and power over the public purse.
It will be interesting to watch developments unfold during the various statehouse negotiations as they attempt to reign in union power and influence.
By: Lloyd Eckberg
February 21, 2011
States Rights-Circa 2011
Much has been said in the last year or two about the need for states to take back much of the authority the federal government has taken away from the individual states and in return getting nothing more than unfunded mandates from Washington.
The Tea Party movement has changed all of that and with the election of last November the individual states have come alive.
Most states are just as broke as the federal government and many are wasting no time in getting down to the job of going it alone and not looking to Washington for a bailout.
The governors of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Louisiana, New Jersey, Indiana, , New York, Ohio, Texas, Florida and yes even California are all exhibiting exceptional leadership qualities seldom before witnessed by state executives, at least on the scale of today’s actions.
Two states, New York and California have Democrat Governors.
The main topic on the table is of course reducing spending and working toward a balanced budget.
On the federal level the Tea Party members are making an immediate impact and have stopped President Obama from his spending frenzy of the past two years.
With Obamacare temporarily in suspension many state Governors are taking the liberty of not putting Obamacare into force in their states until final clarification comes down from the Supreme Court.
In Minnesota and Florida, Governors Tim Pawlenti and Rick Scott have cancelled over a billion dollars worth of projects in questionable rail issues and in New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie cancelled a billion dollar tunnel project from New Jersey into New York.
All of these projects costing billions would have, when completed, cost the individual states millions of dollars which would have to be paid for by local and state taxes.
Government has for too long used its spending authority like throwing darts at a board without understanding that most projects are never fully paid for and in the end the tax burden is shifted to the states, then on to the taxpayers.
With a federal government that is admittedly broke, states are being called upon to take charge of their own deficits which for most amount to several billions of dollars.
The time has now come for governors, state legislators and other high ranking officials in the individual states to stand up to the challenge to bailout their particular state without going to Washington for help.
It will mean as in the case of Wisconsin in particular, many public employees will have to begin paying for more of their amenities right along with others who are not as fortunate as they until their budget is in balance.
Recessions have always been times of belt tightening and the current recession is no exception other than being one where the bellwether housing industry is not responding very well due to a decade of lending indiscretions by the federal government.
In light of all that is going on in state government at this moment, it may be appropriate to note that theis relevant after all.
My prediction is that with good governance from the state level there is no need to hand off local government to Washington.
Governors are currently exhibiting tremendous leadership.
Community Journal 142
By: Lloyd Eckberg
February 14, 2011
The subject of this Horatio Alger story is one of a man who had a rendevous with destiny at a place called Fairlie and Luckie Streets in Atlanta many years ago.
Bob Williamson, at 23 was a young thug who had been in prison and later hunted down by the police in New Orleans when he suddenly decided to escape to Atlanta after reading an ad in the newspaper for computer trainees.
Williamson, speaking to the Men’s Luncheon at the First Baptist Church in Thomasville last week, told of his troubled boyhood and teen age years as though it was from a best selling fictional novel on sex, murder and drugs.
Williamson’s tragic story is one being played out in every American city today.
He was constantly told as a youth that he would never amount to anything: that there was no hope for him which caused him to turn to a life of crime and mayhem until he was involved in a terrible traffic accident that put him in touch with God as he lay for months in Grady General Hospital in Atlanta.
A young nurse began bringing books for him to read while he was recuperating. One day she brought him a copy of her personal Bible and eventually he began to read it and believe in something important to his survival for the first time in his life.
Out of the hospital with no money, no home or friends he began to look for work.
With a firm grip on his belief in God and the lack of a resume he found a low paying job with the Glidden Paint Company "down in the bowels of the plant", sorting labels.
His ingenuity began to function as he showed the company how to save $50,000 annually in the handling of their labels.
Within the year he was promoted eight times and landed up in management and his meteoric rise to success became history.
Upon his own intuition against the advice of his wife he left the Glidden Company and opened and built his own software business which he later sold for $75 million.
Williamson has been happily married for 40 years as he says "to a Christian lady" and they have three sons.
He now owns a plantation south of Monticello, Florida and is developing a new business there with his sons..
Last year Williamson published a book entitled, "Miracle on Luckie" explaining his life of despair and lost hope to one of success through perseverance, hard work and a deep belief and faith in God.
Williamson’s harrowing story of a life filled with crime and meaness has played out like a great movie but it could only happen in America.
Pulling oneself up by the bootstraps has been a common theme through the ages because America is a land of opportunity and one in which the individual decides how and when he or she wants to change for the better.
There are thousands of potential Horatio Algers today who are taking the same path as did Williamson which will end up on the scrapheap of humanity.
However the same opportunity exists for all who listen and reason and believe in something bigger than oneself and then act on it.
Williamson says, "Never give up hope because there is always something out there to make up for your shortcoming and when you have found hope you need to tell someone else about it".
You might say, with God’s help Bob Williamson was fairly lucky.
By: Lloyd Eckberg
February 7, 2011
Post Partum Obamacare
The healthcare bill everyone knows as Obamacare is officially called The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The Tea Party put Obamacare in the intensive care ward and when the Republicans took over the House this year they placed it on life support status.
Twenty-eight states have appealed through the courts to have Obamacare repealed outright.
The question of its constitutionality has been evident from the beginning according to Conservatives throughout the nation.
While two federal judges have ruled for the measure two other judges have ruled against the bill.
The most damaging evidence came just last week in Pensacola FL where the judge ruled if one part of the bill is unconstitutional then the entire bill is null and void.
This action has sent shock waves through the Democrat Party and especially to President Obama.
The Florida ruling sets up what many believe could be the most significant ruling of the Supreme Court in many years.
The question goes to the core of our Constitution: that is, can the Federal Government require a citizen to purchase insurance against their will.
Many believe the government has overreached and the Supreme Court must rule in favor of the states if the Constitution is to continue to be the law of the land.
Regardless of the outcome of a Supreme Court verdict Obamacare is a flawed piece of legislation.
In addition to individual mandate provision Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Budget Committee, says the bill in its present form would cause a deficit of $709 billion over a ten year period.
According to Ryan the CBOE figures did not show all of the costs involved with the measure.
Last week the Senate killed the 1099 provision in the bill which required all businesses to report expenditures to everyone who made $600 or more. If the President signs this bill it will alleviate tons of unnecesary paperwork for every business.
One of the most revealing parts of the complexity of the bill has been exposed already, just a month or so into the part of the bill that has gone into effect.
As of this date 733 business organizations have applied for and been granted a waiver from the bill’s provision which emphasizes why most people think the bill is too big and will kill jobs.
It is amazing that of the 733 waivers, 40 percent have been granted to Union organizations who spent millions of dollars of members’ money in the campaign to pass the bill in the first place.
The healthcare bill is coming apart at the seams and regardless of how the court eventually rules on the case the Republican Congress will continue to amend the statute and de-fund sections that go into effect intermittently prior to 2014.
There is one bi-partisan idea that must be agreed to.
That is the measure needs to be acted upon quickly by the Supreme Court in order to settle the matter one way or the other so Congress can get to the more pressing needs of the nation.
Community Journal 140
By: Lloyd Eckberg
January 31, 2011
One may say when trying to decide whether or not to buy a new car, "I could buy a good used car for chump change".
If the used car will fill one’s need then a lot of money has been saved.
I heard a news reporter say recently that if Congress voted to eliminate earmarks it would save $35 million a year and that’s just chump change in the face of a $1.5 trillion deficit for the coming year.
It is pretty well agreed that the budget cannot be balanced from discretionary spending alone.
The big bull in the china shop is entitlement programs such as Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security as well as national defense.
That is true, but!
The government has no current budget so it is hard to tell how and what programs are impacting the deficit and until the 112th Congress came in no one cared.
Representative Paul Ryan(R) Wisconsin will give the Congress its first budget in several years.
Ryan has found hundreds of chump change items that will go a long way in starting us down a road of fiscal responsibility.
He looks at it this way. A $35 million dollar savings really amounts to $70 million because it is assumed if we don’t cut that amount out of the budget it will be added to the budget for the coming year causing a turn around of $70 million.
It is the same principle as applied to a football team who has a 7 point lead and fumbles the ball going in for another score which the opposing team picks up the ball and runs to the other end of the field for a touchdown. Rather than leading 14-0 the score is tied 7-7 which is a 14 point turnaround.
We as Americans, and our Congress especially, have for too long looked at discretionary spending in Washington as chump change economics and over several decades we have come to think only big items affect our financial condition.
I think it would be safe to say that most household financial woes occur because the chump change syndrome is not well understood.
I do not contend that closing up the chump change loopholes will solve our problem, but in the long run it is part of the equation that eventually will allow us to have and operate on a balanced budget.
Many of us remember when a penny was worth something; a nickel was better and a quarter was a whole lot of money.
We must get back to that thinking when it comes to spending. We can’t have everything we want and if we don’t understand that then we are certainly doomed as a nation.
A lot of chump change runs into some hefty amounts.
For instance NPR radio costs us $42 million annually. Why do taxpayers have to subsidize government radio?
Eliminating that little bit of chump change amounts to a turn around of $84 million a year or $840 million in a 10-year period.
The United States can once again become solvent but our leaders and yes, ordinary citizens will have to learn that a little chump change can turn into big money.
Community Journal 139
By: Lloyd Eckberg
January 24, 2011
The Main Thing
The main thing is the main thing and we need to keep our eyes on the main thing so said Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann in a talk to a group of business executives in Iowa last week.
Of course she was referring to the economy and the need to address the concerns of the electorate from the November election.
Well what is the main thing?
President Obama last year declared it was Jobs, Jobs, Jobs and then he went on a spending spree that created few if any jobs.
Jobs are not an end to the means but an end of the means.
Most people will say we need to bring manufacturing back to the United States. You just don’t load up a bunch of industry on a boat and take it anywhere.
To bring jobs back to the United States and keeping jobs here is pretty much up to government’s desire to create or keep jobs at home.
For the past two years and even beyond that for a couple of decades to be sure we have created an anti-business, anti-free market approach to creating jobs in this nation.
Bureaucracy after bureaucracy has been set up to brunt the spirit and creativity of business and industry.
Tons of paperwork and rules have burdened business and industry to the point where entrepreneurs do not want to invest and expand their companies in the United States so they either sell their business or look for a more business friendly climate, be it in Mexico, China or other foreign countries.
To grow jobs in America many bureaus and thousands of burdensome and unnecessary regulations must be eliminated to show good faith for the captains of industry to really get going.
Bureaucratic regulations are number one and cutting back on federal spending is number two. They are the means to an end which is jobs.
As this column was written before President Obama’s State of the Union address I can only surmise what his message may contain.
You can be sure that his small tilt to the right does not call for spending cuts enough to fuel the engines of industry.
He will call for continued investments in jobs, education and healthcare but that call is just a coverup for more dollars which we do not have at this time.
Crunch time is coming for America and the next big hurdle will be in March or April when the Congress will meet its first big challenge and that is the need to raise or hold spending levels for the coming year.
Senator Dick Durbin(D) says, "Spending must be cut somewhere down the line".
Representative Paul Ryan(R) will say that line is here, right now and spending must be stopped in its tracks if we are to ever get our spending and taxing under control.
Anyone half savvy in reading the tea leaves knows that the chicken roost has been dropped in our midst and the chickens have come home and they are ready to roost.
The current talk about the 2012 election campaign must be removed from a "Main Thing"concern and replaced by two real "Main Things’: creating a business like atmosphere for business and cutting spending back to create a balanced budget if jobs are ever going to come back for our people.
Community Journal 138
By: Lloyd Eckberg
January 17, 2011
Bare bones budgeting
The United States Congress we are going to get an early Atlanta dose of bare bones budgeting for 2011.is now underway and unlike activity from the
The Washington sequel will begin to manifest itself about April.
What can we look forward to from Atlanta?
Our newly elected Representative Darlene Taylor gave the Thomas County Republicans a brief overview at their January 13 monthly meeting and she says every department and program of the state will get a thorough scrutinizing before sine die.
Taylor said, "A number of cuts for the new year are in place to be introduced to the Assembly as it begins its 40-day session".
Three major items right off the bat will be major budget busters but Taylor believes there is wide sentiment around the state for them and are deemed to be bipartisan measures.
$32 million for deepening of the Savannah River channel which is designed to handle the new super tankers that will be coming through the Panama Canal upon completion of that project next year. Failure to approve this project could be a huge loss for state commerce in the immediate future.
Additional reservoirs for North Georgia are designed to impound more water in order not to jeopardize the state’s relations with Alabama and Florida and to have adequate water for Atlanta in drought years.
Education will get lots of attention in this year’s assembly. Taylor indicates that there will be no more teacher furloughs.
Taylor noted that there will be no federal bailout this year for education as stimulus funds are not available.
The 2010 state budget was nearly $4 billion less than the 2009 budget, but indications for the 2011 budget according to a number of charts supplied at the meeting by Taylor which begins on July 1 of this year, will be in the neighborhood of a billion dollars more.
One item of real concern which affects education according to Taylor is that the State Lottery has reached a point of no growth and significant changes are going to have to be made in the program if it is to remain a viable source of funds for aspiring students. Taylor is soliciting ideas and suggestions from constituents on how to grow the fund under its present system.
While much of the political discussion in the media has been directed to the federal agenda lately, attention to state affairs is very important because it will happen fast due to the short space of time allotted to the current session of the General Assembly.
Taylor said committee appointments have not yet been made but should be forthcoming shortly. Also, there is nothing yet on district reapportionment because the U. S. Census Department will not release their numbers until April.
Community Journal 137
By: Lloyd Eckberg
January 10, 2011
Setting a tone
Last week’s opening of the 112th Congress was a historical event which sent word around the world that the United States Congress has turned a new leaf in governing.
Reading of the Constitution before the Congress was the idea of Representative Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and when Speaker John Boehner sounded the gavel and spoke the first three words, "We the people", the nation knew that the message sent by the citizens on November 2 had been heard.
It was a masterful stroke for the Tea Party which campaigned for nearly two years to bring the Constitution back to Washington.
It is amazing to me that the reading of the founding document was only the first time in our nation’s history that has been accomplished.
Symbolic you say? Maybe so but why did more than a few Democrats mock and laugh at the procedure?
I had just finished reading the Constitution from cover to cover and the idea of Congress men and women reading this aloud for all the citizens to see and hear really excited me personally.
I don’t know much more about the Constitution now than before I read it or heard it read over TV but I really believe that many, if not most members of Congress heard it in its totality for the first time in their lives last week.
The Tea Party mantra has been back to the Constitution and I think it has revitalized the Republican Party.
It must be so because the rules set forth by the new House of Representatives is that every legislative measure proposed for adoption must contain a signed statement by its sponsor affirming its legality in light of its constitutionality.
The first new measure coming out of the House of Representatives was Speaker Boehner’s promise to immediately cut staff costs of all Congressional offices by five percent.
In the discussion of the measure many members stepped up to say they were cutting their expenses by more than five percent.
While this small start to fiscal sanity saves $35 million it was in itself a clarion call of the House that all agencies in the government are going to meet the same fate.
Thirty five million dollars in this case amounts to a $70 million turn around because normally it would have been a five percent or $35M added to the spending.
The cultural change of spending more money has been exchanged for a culture of cutting.
The Tea Party has said they will change x, y and z and they have already begun changing x, y and z and the Congress has just gotten underway.
With a 242 to 193 majority and a unity of purpose to begin their term, Republicans now have a unique opportunity to save this country from another debacle.
It won’t be easy to do however as there are powerful members of both parties who want the spending to continue until we can spend no more.
For the majority in Congress however the time has come when we can spend no more than we take in and at this point in time they have the upper hand for the moment at least.
Now is a good time to encourage our Senators and Representatives as we watch and listen to their every move in order that we may be able to fairly judge them once again in two years.
Community Journal 136
By: Lloyd Eckberg
January 3, 2011
Energy talk: Cheap and appealing
The most electrifying and appealing subject for all politicians to talk about is energy.
Democrats, Republicans, Independents, left wingers, right wingers, Tea Party supporters all have as their number one priority, energy independence from foreign countries.
None of the above groups have been called to task for espousing the energy crisis as something they are going to solve and then upon being elected never seem to broach the subject in a serious manner again: that is until the next election.
The energy crisis, problem or whatever you choose to call it in my opinion really should be a priority of the first magnitude and it should be one that all citizens and political factions could coalesce around.
High energy prices is a root cause of most of our problems today, including unemployment.
High gas prices and home energy costs are destroying the middle and poor classes of people in this country.
The government has pulled the blinders over our eyes by not counting the cost of energy and food in the Cost of Living Index.
Those two categories of expenses have been causing inflation in our household budgets and by not counting them in the inflation index we are led to believe there is no inflation.
The cost of a barrel of oil is nearly a hundred dollars a barrel vs $17 just a few years ago and food prices have moved in tandem with oil.
The price increases in food and energy have sapped the discretionary income of the average worker and retiree alike, leaving them little to spend for the other essentials that it takes to run a household.
As long as the environmentalists with the power of the EPA keep urging the government to add more and more regulations on fossil fuel development, energy prices are going to continue to soar.
As dynamic as the American economy is President Obama’s agenda calling for more and more so called green development will never come near to satisfying or filling the needs of energy in this country.
Windmills twisting in the wind and solar panels should be
encouraged as part of a long term solution to a small amount of our energy output.
All the emphasis in the direction of alternate sources of energy with no reasonable assurance that it will bring down prices or serve the massive appetite of a growing nation such as ours is pure folly.
For the immediate needs of our country the EPA rules on emissions from coal fired plants should be lifted. Natural gas exploration and development of new nuclear energy plants should be accelerated and our politicians encouraged to come up with a sensible and workable solution to the entire energy problem.
We have wasted too much time on Al Gore’s fake Global Warming scheme and the time for serious development of our number one national problem is long overdue.
Energy talk in Washington is cheap but what we need is energy action. Let’s make energy independence a number one priority and get to work on solving the problem now.
Community Journal 135
By: Lloyd Eckberg
December 27, 2010
Batter Up, Tea Party
The 112th Congress will take over next week and a historic week it will be.
The Tea Party’s long awaited turn in the batter’s box has arrived.
Will they hit a home run or will they strike out?
Time will tell and just like any ball game there are more than one or two innings. It’s the entire game that ultimately determines who wins or loses.
The new ball game will feature many new players. Some have proven themselves to be good hitters and the new rookie members have yet to make their mark, however their bark has been very strong and forceful.
Right off the bat we will see something new.
‘We the People’ will open the 112th Congress.
The new rules of the House of Representatives will order the entire Constitution document to be fully read on the House floor on January 6.
And I suspect this new rule will be just one of many that will begin to bring respect back to our founding documents.
It will be an exciting time to be in Washington to see a new slant on governing by a new bunch of principled national leaders.
Here are a few things to look for:
Rep. John Boehner’s plan to reduce administrative expenses of Congressional staffs at the outset of the new session will signal a new team is in town.
Look for Rep. Paul Ryan to be the big elephant in the china shop as he will introduce a budget for the 112th Congress, something the Obama Administration failed to produce in two years.
Ryan will chair the powerful House Budget and Finance Committee arguably the smartest mind on the Hill as far as budgeting is concerned.
His job will be a tough one but at least he will not have the failed $1.2trillion Omnibus Spending Bill to deal with. This bill that was defeated by Senate leaders under the guidance of Mitch McConnell in the lame duck Congress would have shackled the new Congress had it passed.
It contained thousands of ear marks and billions for Obamacare and NPR and other goodies for the left wing agenda which would have driven up the debt to even greater heights.
The long coveted ear mark program is coming to an end. Thanks to the Tea Party, old line Republicans and Democrats are beginning to hue the line on such activity.
Another powerful Representative to watch is Darrell Issa of California.
Issa will be in charge of oversight in the House of Representatives and intends to bring full light on the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debacle. These two agencies are going down the same track as they did in the early part of the decade and Issa will be able to bring this scandal out in the open.
He also intends to look into the 2008 voter intimidation trial which convicted members of the new Black Panther Party and then were released by Attorney General Eric Holder.
Others such as Representatives Peter King of New York, Michele Bachman of Minnesota and Senator Jim Demint of South Carolina are all leaders who will push the ‘cut the deficit’ agenda forward as the session gets underway.
It is a good time to get involved with your government.
Community Journal 134
By: Lloyd Eckberg
December 20, 2010
Magic and Majesty
Just up the street from our house both the magic and majesty of the Christmas season unfolds and explodes with a powerful message.
Never before have I seen such stark contrast to the way Christmas is celebrated in America, all under the banner of a lone carpenter’s son who was born over 2000 years ago in a little town called Bethlehem.
In one yard thousands of glittering, colorful lights that bring forth the magical wonder of the Christmas season adorn maybe a hundred or more symbols of the coming Christmas celebration.
Many will say, "That’s what it is all about".
However, in the adjoining yard you can witness the honoring of the same occasion but in a far different manner.
In this yard is a small creche showing Mary and Joseph looking down at the new born savior in a small crib located where?: in a little town called Bethlehem.
The entire scene covers no more than an area of about three feet square accompanied by one small floodlight that is more than adequate for the exhibit.
Many of the same people who view the first exhibit will look at the other exhibit and say, "That’s what it is all about".
Who is right and who is wrong? I cannot judge that but can only say the meaning of Christmas in this example is in the eye of the beholder.
Whichever direction you lean it is wonderful to see peace loving neighbors celebrate the Christmas story in both magical and majestic ways.
I know there is a quiet national debate on all the fuss that is made over those who go all out to decorate their houses and businesses with lights and boughs of holly, but just take a ride through the neighborhoods of any community at Christmas time and try to vision our communities with no expressions of the birth of Jesus.
Remember, were it not for Christmas there would be no Easter and then just what kind of a society would there be?
Were it not for those two Christian celebrations there would be no churches.
I was in Russia in 1980 when Premier Kosygin was in power and yes there were churches, but they were called museums.
Even though St.Petersburg(formerly Leningrad) is a beautiful city you felt in your bones the lack of Christian influence in that metropolis made it a dull place to live.
Regardless of what the pundits say America is a Christian nation and the presence of churches and Christmas celebrations of all types are held in every city in the nation is proof positive of a nation of people who understand and honor the coming of Jesus Christ.
May it always be that way.
For a magical and majestic new year,to all.
Community Journal 133
By: Lloyd Eckberg
December 13, 2010
The political winds on the Potomac are blowing like a Nor’easter and damage to the soul of the body politic is being severely buffeted.
The Lame Duck session of Congress is acting more like a ruptured duck looking for a place to lay his head before it too gets bashed in.
are in full mutiny and the Republicans can’t quite figure out whether to join the President or the left wing Democrats to stop a new bailout.
Call it what you want but the proposed hold-the-line on tax increases and the extension of unemployment benefits is sending mixed messages to everyone including the Tea Party members.
The current bill under consideration emphasizes just what is wrong with our present government.
Two issues completely unrelated, stopping a tax increase and extending a potential welfare program under the guise of helping the unemployed should not be cooked in the same pot as the saying goes.
Using one as a quid pro quo for the other is a disservice to the ultra left, the conservative right and all those in between.
Both issues deserve the full attention of the legislators and each deserve to be voted up or down on their own merit and should not be subjected to compromise..
We know from past administrations that tax reductions, not tax increases create an atmosphere for creating jobs.
That is particularly critical at this time because of the anti-business rhetoric of the current administration during the past two years.
It is ironic to see President Obama go to bat with the Republicans on the anti-tax increase measure, something he has refused to do in the past.
The anti-tax increase issue needs to be resolved in order to begin a period of certainty so the perception of a rise in confidence in the economy will begin to spur job creating efforts.
The unemployment problem is of vital concern to business and industry and more importantly, to those unemployed.
By continuing to kick the can down the road as it relates to the unemployed is a brutal way to solve the problem, which incidentally it won’t.
The unemployment compensation program is beginning to morph into a welfare state right. That should be a number one concern of everyone. The idea that many have that "I can do better drawing $400 a week than I can work at another job at $250 or $300 a week", is a condition that is eroding the work ethic of our people at an alarming rate.
During the depths of the Great Depression my father who luckily had part time work on his regular job began to sell insurance and do other odd jobs in order to keep his household intact.
We did not have the type trade schools back then as we do today to quickly retrain those who wanted to elevate their economic status.
Two requirements ought to be placed on the unemployed.
They should be profiled in order to be sure they are actively seeking employment and after a certain period of non-work they should be required to enroll in a technical school and begin to retrain for another work position.
Failing to meet those two benchmarks would disqualify them for future unemployment compensation.
If we do not structure the unemployment problem toward solving one’s unemployment it will soon become another social welfare disaster that will in turn create more problems for an already overburdened social justice system which continues to fail our citizens.
Community Journal 132
By: Lloyd Eckberg
December 6, 2010
Thirty Great Years
I met my good friend Ed Elam one night last week and congratulated him.
"For what", he said. "Don’t you remember, I quipped. This week is the 30th anniversary of TRW’s ribbon cutting in Thomasville".
"Oh my gosh, I had forgotten all about that", said Ed.
Well I hadn’t, because about a month ago I ran across a ribbon cutting ceremony memento and I put it on the refrigerator door to remind me to let Ed know that I hadn’t forgotten the big event which was roundly applauded by the citizens of Thomasville at that particular time.
For those who might not know TRW later became TECT which is presently located in Thomasville next to the Plantation Oak Industrial Park on the Old Albany road.
TRW came to town based on many things necessary to make such a move, but most importantly they came because of quality of life issues.
Initially, as the Chamber of Commerce EVP, I began working with TRW’s consultant in May of 1980.
For the next 90 days I was in constant contact with their consultants trying to answer every one of their questions to the best of my ability.
After the technical aspects of the search had been completed, a company head from Cleveland called and said he was coming to town and wanted to see five potential industrial sites for a possible new headquarters.
The five sites were identified and with the aid and assistance of City Engineer Wesley Wilson, who incidentally was always my right hand man for helping locate new industry, all sites were OK’d for the visit.
The big day came and after looking at all five sites which took about half a day, the company head said to me, "I don’t like any of them. Don’t you have something with some pecan trees on it?"
Well, fortunately we located an adequate site the next week which is the site of their present plant which I said is now the home of TECT.
TRW’s coming to town capped off a very successful decade of industrial growth in Thomasville mainly from 1970 to 1980.
At the time, TRW’s entry into town was the crown jewel of the decade as far as new industrial recruitment was concerned.
TRW’s announcement came while the 1980 Olympics were going on.
I had been given the nod they were coming but no one else knew. TRW was an Olympic sponsor and as their beautiful TV ads flashed on the screen I could barely contain my excitement knowing what I knew that no one else did.
It was around this time that Ed Elam found out he was coming to Thomasville to head up the new unit.
Ed and Lois have been a wonderful addition to our community and both of them had a final say as to whether TRW was coming to Thomasville or to one of two other cities in Georgia.
Nonetheless, TRW and its successors have been a great addition to the quality of life of our area, that which they were originally seeking when they first decided to take a look at Thomasville and its environs.
Community Journal 131
By: Lloyd Eckberg
November 29, 2010
U.S. on security
The weaknesses and strengths of the United States in security matters and enforcement of such is a broad subject and hard to define.
Although we have some of the best experienced personnel in our security apparatus, they like our military commanders have to fight their battles many times with one hand tied behind their backs.
We are a free people and don’t want to be harassed when we want to do something but when others break a law or do something with which we disagree we are ready to throw the book at them.
That is the problem. Sometimes we don’t know if or when to throw the ‘book’.
Several situations at the present time have potential serious consequences for our country.
First, Kalil Sheikh Mohammed, conspirator in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center in , still awaits trial.
Nine years have passed and our Eric Holder has dillied and dallied on this mass murderer and has now decided to wait until after the 2012 election to hold the trial.under
Millions of Americans are waiting to put this case to rest but the Administration refuses to place him before a military tribunal.
There is no reason to try this man in a civilian court as he is not entitled to the same justice as those whom he is responsible for killing.
He needs to be tried in Gitmo and thanks to Representative Peter King of New York he probably will remain their until a new administration comes in to send him to trial.
Second, the Wikileaks expose is really coming unglued and the administration seems powerless to do anything about it.
Julian Assange, an Australian internet activist, has created a huge problem for the United States and other countries as he continues to thumb his nose at us as he releases tons of classified state documents.
The documents technically are not his but he claims he is releasing them in the name of a free press.
He is presently under arrest in Sweden but is not in that country and there is no way to apprehend him.
We could take him out but our leaders do not have the political will to answer to the various left wing groups that would jump all over any action we might take.
He has clearly committed espionage on the United States and for that he should be executed.
Third: A constant threat lies in homeland terrorism such as exemplified by the Somali teenager, Osman Mohammud in Portland, Oregon.
The FBI operating a sting on this individual caught him in the act trying to blow up a Christmas tree lighting event. Unknowingly to Mohammud the FBI who were in on the act averted disaster.
Mohammud should be sent to Gitmo for this act but don’t hold your breath as there will be a hue and cry to take it easy on this boy.
Fourth: The latest Gitmo detainee to embarrass our citizens was the trial in New York of 36 year old Ahmed Ghailani who was tried for the 1998 bombing deaths of 213 people in Nabibia, Kenya.
Of 280 counts of murder and mayhem a civilian jury acquitted him from all except one count.
While we respect and honor the court system of this country, this is another example of why terrorists should be tried in.
Cases such as this one makes a mockery of our judicial system but politicians are afraid to put in place the necessary tools to properly take care of those around the world who want to do us harm.
Community Journal 130
By: Lloyd Eckberg
November 22, 2010
Thanksgiving in transition
There was a time in my early life when Thanksgiving meant just what it said, "Thank you Lord for all that you have given us and may we continue to receive your bounteous blessings," or something to that effect.
I just wonder where or if a prayer or statement like that resides in the hearts and souls of the average person today.
I would like to think so and I hope that is the thought and meaning of this year’s Thanksgiving holiday, which in one form or another has been celebrated in America since 1619.
Thanksgiving was once a time when the week before the event great anticipation and preparedness was in progress for the coming together of friends, family or other special guests.
It was a joyous day for mothers and grandmothers to show off their culinary skills especially in the area of cake and pie baking.
Now the local supermarkets and specialty shops assume much of that tradition.
From my own personal observation much of that type of activity still thrives in most familial situations even in the face of the fast moving era in which we find ourselves.
And, far too many citizens today do not have any idea of how Thanksgiving got started nor do they care as the aesthetic value of the event has long since disappeared even for those who look forward to the annual celebration.
Christmas and Black Friday have co-opted both Halloween and Thanksgiving but with the world spinning as fast on its proverbial axis as it is, it may be time for those who care to try to replant the flag of tradition and place these occasions in their proper order.
Trying to keep a positive attitude about our favored customs, I am concerned about our society and how it treats the past and to what degree we serve as role models for the children of this generation.
With the heavy barrage of influence inflicted upon our children and grandchildren due to broken homes and a de-emphasis on the family in general, it is easy to see how the traditions we have come to know and enjoy can be lost for the future.
Laying politics aside for the moment I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and can find some way to help restore our faith in family, community and nation as we approach the new year.
In 1940, radio star Kate Smith introduced a mighty song into our musical repertoire called God Bless America.
She sang that song every day during World War II and it helped bring us through a dark era.
If we will just pause a moment and think what those three powerful words really mean, they could have the same positive effect on a troubled nation and world today.
In Thanksgiving, God surely has blessed America.
Community Journal 129
By: Lloyd Eckberg
November 15, 2010
Earmarks and other Pork
The new buzzword today that has captivated the fancy of Americans and one that was partially used to turn an election upside down is ‘Earmarks’.
They really hit the charts when the so called Stimulus Bill came into being as it was loaded with hundreds of projects that feathered some legislators’ nests but never produced jobs as we were led to believe the bill would accomplish.
It is one of President Obama’s signature ‘pork’ adventures.
Somewhat refined since then non-support for Earmarks has become a litmus test for the 2012 election. In fact everything that pops into the current lexicon will be evaluated as to how it will affect or enhance one’s chances of becoming a serious contender for public office in the next election cycle.
Earmarks have quickly become a symbol of old style politics and something to be avoided.
In the past, earmarks have been an incumbent’s best friend although some politicians such as Representative John Boehner and Senator John McCain along with others have never taken an earmark for their districts.
Earmarks themselves are not the real culprit for our current problems but their attachment to legislation that does cause spending to go out of control assures that bad legislation gets through the Congress much too often.
I believe the ban on all Earmarks as they are currently defined will come to an end as the Republicans assume office in January.
Banning earmarks will take away from many Congressmen and women their main weapon for getting reelected year after year after year.
Here are a few other items I would like to see take place early in the 112th Congress.
National Public Radio(NPR) should have their $42million of their $166million public funds budget eliminated. Government should not be a sponsor of the public airwaves.
Congress should come under the Social Security Law.
All laws passed by Congress should apply equally to everyone and waiving coverage for federal servants is discriminatory.
Every piece of legislation should be required reading for each Congressman or woman and a statement certifying that fact should be signed by the legislator prior to casting a vote on the legislation.
After the legislation is signed into law the President should not be able to alter or amend the bill.
Each piece of legislation should stand on its own merit. No amendments or earmarks should be attached to the bill unless it directly affects the legislation.
Unfunded mandates should not be forced onto states until and unless the state legislature accepts the federal petition.
The raw authority of the EPA should be reigned in and all major actions should be subject to Congressional oversight and approval.
Now is a good time for interested citizens to correspond with their representatives in Congress and let them know of ways government can be improved for the good of all citizens.
Community Journal 125
By: Lloyd Eckberg
October 18, 2010
Tale of two tragedies
The contrast between the Gulf Oil spill episode and the recent Chile mine rescue effort is stark.
Although the obstacles in each case were massive in their own right the approach to some of the solutions were relatively simple.
The outcome in each was revealed in the leadership style of two presidents: President Barack Obama of the United States and President Sebastian Pinera of Chile.
Faced with an uncertain outcome, President Pinera with very low odds decided to make every effort to determine if the miners might still be alive and if so do everything in his power to ensure that all means possible would be tried to extricate them.
With quick, decisive determination he called out to the world for help and in the end 12 nations participated in some manner in the rescue.
Just as in the case of almost every international incident, no matter how hopeless, America answers the call.
Two Pennsylvania firms with expertise in mining provided the drilling rig and the drill bits capable of penetrating the hard rock present in the Chilean mountains.
One firm spent 37 days perfecting and overseeing their part and NASA from Houston provided advice and expertise on how to survive in small places.
President Pinera stayed close to the rescue effort during the 69 day ordeal and was there to greet every survivor as Mother Earth grudgingly expelled those miners from her womb.
Without fanfare President Pinera, dressed in the same garb as the rescuers, watched every movement of the workers and displayed compassion and concern and even prayed in public in the best tradition of his Roman Catholic upbringing.
He allowed the media to be there to capture the drama and emotion that was felt by hundreds of millions of TV watchers around the globe.
In the end he was heard to say, "I love America." Most of the Americans who were no longer needed in the operation had returned home so as not to detract from the Chilean effort itself.
How refreshing it was to see government and private enterprise working together with simple solutions applied to a major problem.
Government got out of the way in Chile and the rescue proceeded in a logical and efficient manner.
Just the opposite happened in our Gulf Oil spill.
In the early stages of the tragedy President Obama was on TV almost daily saying, "BP is responsible".
That was evident from the beginning and one wondered what that had to do with stopping the oil leak.
Governor Jindal of Louisiana constantly pleaded for help but was hindered from taking action on his own at every step.
During crucial periods of the oil spill President Obama made political campaign trips to California and Nevada and even took a couple of vacations thus remaining somewhat detached from the problem.
Regulatory agencies got in one another’s way and some had to do studies before certain actions could be taken while individuals
took action on their own.
Countries all over the world with great expertise in controlling oil spills were turned away from helping by our government. Had they been allowed to help the oil probably would never have reached our shores.
The Jones Act, a ninety year old law was given as the reason for turning down help from abroad. Failure to take immediate action on the negation of that Act shows how government can cause a simple solution to a problem turn into a major deterrent in solving that dilemma.
Onerous regulations are the backbone of a controlled society which we have tapped into and until we realize how they are hurting our economy and will to solve problems the same mistakes will continue to be made in future disasters.
Community Journal 124
By: Lloyd Eckberg
October 11, 2010
By all means "Vote the facts"
President Obama came into office with 53 percent of the popular vote and held a hefty 70 percent personal approval rating with all Americans and in the process laid to rest the idea that America was a racist society and would not elect a Black man as president.
While his personal charisma remained strong during his first year in office he governed as an ideologue based on big government and deficit spending.
President Obama attempted to change our Capitalist way of life to a redistributive economy based on European style Socialism and the citizens began to rebel.
The Tea party movement was quickly pieced together around the nation and the Obama doctrine has been reeling ever since.
In Bill Raiford’s column last week in the Times Enterprise entitled, "Vote on facts," Raiford plays the race card by saying, "I believe that a major portion of the discomfort running rampant in our society today is driven not only on the really serious problems facing this nation, but the fact is he is a non-white and that becomes the all consuming hatred that taints the reasoning of voters who should be thinking about the facts and not their emotions."
I believe that statement to be false, misleading and demeaning and has no place in the political discourse no matter how rancid the political rhetoric is or becomes.
The brush that Mr. Raiford paints with condemns all, not just the fringe few who are out there on both sides of the fence.
This thought of injecting race into politics got its initial boost by Bill Clinton in during the 2008 presidential race.
I have scores of Black friends and acquaintances in this community and most of them know exactly where I stand with President Obama and I don’t believe a one of them would say that I hate the President because of his color.
I make no apology however for my disdain for his policies and the way he has taken this country down the road toward becoming a welfare state.
His administration is made up of career government people many of whom have Marxist leanings and those from the academic community.
As a result an anti-business sentiment and political philosophy have crept into our governing and the very life of Capitalism is stymied.
Congress is as much a part of President Obama’s demise as anything.
Congress has adjourned and gone home without adopting a budget for this session.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has just made a profound statement by saying the best way out of the recession is to pass out more food stamps and provide more people with unemployment compensation.
With no agenda the Democrats have nothing to hang their hat on but welfare solutions to massive economic problems.
No Democrat who voted for Obamacare is touting that legislation as an accomplishment during this congressional session.
The reasoning is simple: The biggest piece of legislation in years was crafted in secrecy and passed in the middle of night and to a member no one could tell their constituents what was in the bill or how much the cost was going to be.
The facts are in and the facts are dismal for the President. The Senate and Congress failed in their last moment before taking off for home to campaign, and as a result no one in business knows what their taxes are going to be in 2011.
By all means, "Vote the facts".
Community Journal 123
By: Lloyd Eckberg
October 4, 2010
This, That and the Other
I thought it might be a good time to defrag my mind of politics for a moment and talk a little about This, That and the Other.
For those of my generation, defragging has something to do with a computer, I think.
I have a lot of people asking me what about Thomasville and its future.
Thomasville is a survivor in this economy and it will be one of the first communities to jump-start its economic engine when things turn up.
We have already shed most of the low paying jobs that are subject to moving off shore.
Due to Archbold’s medical preeminence in this region and Flowers Foods recent expansions in downtown Thomasville, and all those two employers bring with them, I foresee a very bright future for Thomasville and the surrounding area.
Cleaver Brooks’ announcement of its headquarters move from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Thomasville and Senior Life Insurance Company’s new headquarters presently under construction on West Jackson Street gives one the idea that a new economic base is being created for future growth and development.
Thomasville is fortunate to have a great YMCA program with over 8,000 members, a growing technical college that serves area industry very well and a small four year university that is finally making its mark on the community with consistent growth and expanded mission.
All this, including Personal Income in bodes well for national franchise companies as they evaluate this community for new expansion.having the highest
Thomasville city and county leaders need to get their collective heads together and work on highway development especially as it relates to the bypass system.
Truck traffic on Thomasville’s new ‘main street’, the east bypass, is overwhelming to those who work in the immediate area and have to cross the various intersections several times during the day.
Speed is becoming a serious problem. Trucks roll through the intersections as fast as 60 miles per hour while regular auto commuters are trying to figure out where to turn for a restaurant or a route into town.
The intersections at Office Depot, Days Inn and the North Bypass all need double collection turn lanes to reduce the down time for traffic lights and blockage of through lanes.
These double collection lanes were authorized by GA DOT in 2004 but as yet have not been improved.
One of the big bottle necks for the future as well as the present is the overpass at the Valdosta Exit at US 19 and Smith Avenue.
Poor planning allowed development right up into the intersection and it is too late to make proper improvements at that location.
My suggestion would be to move south on US 19 and cut in a new traffic exchange to Valdosta between that intersection and Flowers Foods.
Of course high mast lighting on all of the intersections on the entire bypass system would be a great safety measure.
Our intersections are dark and when it is raining it pays to say a prayer as you enter onto the roadway.
I still believe Remington Avenue needs reworking and improved with the addition of sidewalks and street lamps like those on Warren Avenue.
And what about the beautiful entrance signs to Thomasville? Where did that project go?
And while we are at it let’s spend some of our Tourism Tax on the beautification of US 19 and make a mini-park out of that magnificent oak tree on the corner of US 19 and Remington Avenue.
I think I like talking about politics better than this Chamber of Commerce business which I did for 42 years.
Don’t forget to vote.