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Posts Tagged ‘current-events’

Tis but thy name that is my enemy; Thou art thyself, though not a Cut. What’s Cut? it is nor increase, nor growth,  nor upsurge, nor intensification, nor any other part belonging to a government. O, be some other name!  What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet; So Sequester would, were he not Sequester call’d, Retain that dear perfection which he owes without that title. Sequester, doff thy name, and for that name which is no part of thee tax all myself.

Alas, I’m so confused – numbers are being thrown around, tours being cancelled, parks closed, furloughs promised, carriers docked.  I see “stuff” being cancelled and blamed on the sequester, but what are the realities here?  A cut of say $200,000,000, from what?  A 5% cut in this program – from what?  I have a current program that is currently operating, delivering services for $1000 – now, my next fiscal budget is going to be $1100 (10% increase), this increase is to cover expanded/new services, as well as additional costs to operate – but this nasty sequester cuts my proposed increase to only 5%.  Does that mean I now stop everything I’ve been doing because I’ve had this 5% “cut” in spending?  Or does it mean I postpone incorporating new services, or look at ways to improve the efficiency of my service?

The politics of our government is distorting the real issues we face – and this is dangerous.  Creating fear through misinformation confuses everyone and makes it difficult to have a real debate on the issues at hand.  It would be nice to have a real understanding, a picture that honestly describes what is being actually cut, and cut from exactly what – and is it a cut if it still is increased, just increased less? Come on – we can handle the truth!  In business, when revenues dip, we make decisions to reduce spending – we start by reducing overtime, or by curtailing travel – we look for waste in processes – we find ways of continuing to improve services with less.  Let’s just say, If the President wanted to, he could have eliminated just one trip on Air Force 1 and saved enough money to leave the White House tours to continue without interruption – pure politics.

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As I began to write this post – I found myself writing an open letter to the President – here’s what I’d say:

Mr. President, your campaign is over.  You ran a well run campaign, demonized a good man, fired up your supporters, and won an election some might say was against the odds, given your record.  Some might even say your supporters went a bit overboard (as in the Hamilton County, Ohio voter who was proud to get to vote for you multiple times).  You received significantly more votes than did Mitt Romney, but it was not a landslide (you really only received about 29% of the vote based on the total eligible voters – not just those who came out to cast a ballot).   But you did win, and you now are the people’s President – including mine.  As an American, I appreciate the differences in this vast land that builds our character – who we are.  There are many views that mix all together and make this country great.  But I have a problem Mr. President – I’m concerned that there is much hard work to do to help make this country remain the exceptional nation it has always been – and yet you choose to continue campaigning, rather than lead.

Remember Mr. President – you were elected as the President of the United States, serving the people of these United States – NOT, as it seems of recent, just those who voted for you (remember, only 29% of the country).  While I’m perfectly fine with your need to rile up support from your party in an attempt to win an election, now that you have won, it is time to serve ALL the people.  Of course this is not an easy thing to do – you must listen to others views, thoughtfully consider these, and weave them into how you lead the nation.  It means rolling up your sleeves, facilitating rigorous discussion, and compromising on your views, considering your ideas might not be the best approach.  Leading this nation based on fear and one-sided thinking is hurting our country – one we both love and care for.  Always placing blame on others is not leadership – it is “victimship”.

The Sequestration was an idea you pushed for – thinking these indiscriminate cuts would drive both parties to work hard to avoid them – Congress bought into the idea – sure it was the “easy” thing to do – pass a bill saying if we can’t figure this out over the next 12 or so months, these nasty tax hikes and cuts will automatically go into effect – kind of like MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction).  But what did YOU do to help drive a solution that would solve this problem – well, OK  you were busy getting reelected.  When it was time for America to go over the “fiscal  cliff”, everyone kicked the can down the road a few more months.  You already won the election, so it was your time to lead the country – to take republican and democratic leaders and bring them together (why not a great week at Camp David).  Facilitate a discussion to identify common ground, compromise on certain principles, and develop a solution that addresses ALL American views.  Do this hard work to reform tax code, reform entitlements, find ways to make the government operate more efficiently – do even more with less (it can be done).

As my President, that is what I expect you to do.  Under NO circumstances do I want you to take a partisan approach to solving our nations problems, and then spend my money to run around in perpetual campaign mode, trying to convince those you’ve pushed away that it’s your way, or the world collapses.  If you want the government to take a bigger role then its supposed to do – then find ways to do it that will reduce our spending.  As my President, I expect you to bring this country together to solve our problems, to protect our interests, and to be a good steward of OUR money.

Mr. President, I’m disappointed in your leadership skills, your ability to understand our economy, your lack of business skills, your lack of concern about the views of a significant portion of this country that you should be listening to, and your inability to bring congress together to solve the challenges we face.  In the remaining years of your last term, I pray you find the wisdom to correct your shortcomings and the strength to face the tough challenges head on.  Creating and environment of fear, and then blaming someone else for this fear is simply immoral.

Best regards,

A Concerned American

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The State of the Union was last night – this is a great American tradition, where the President gets to address both chambers of congress and tout successes in the previous year and layout plans for the future.  The current President, Barack, took his turn to fulfill this legal requirement.  Barack is definitely one who can deliver a smooth oration.  He comes across well in this environment.  But I’m not sure he has any comprehension of reality.  Let’s start at the beginning, with a slight distortion – 6.1 millions jobs created – counted starting after the peak of job losses (Feb 2010) – If you consider during his entire watch, only about 1.9 million jobs have been added.  Obama talked about gas mileage in cars having doubled – well, not yet – won’t happen for another 17 years.  But, lets’ not worry about this spin.  What is more troubling is  all of the new programs the President proposed – oh and it’s not going to add a single dime to the deficit.  What about reducing the deficit – why are trillion plus dollar deficits not worth having a serious discussion on?  We must begin to take a comprehensive look at everything the government spends money on – EVERY THING – including “entitlements”.  We can not sustain continued deficits and ever rising debt ceiling.  The sequester – the President’s idea –  is a childish way to have the government do what the people expect it to do.  Obama and the Senate have failed for 4 straight years to produce a responsible budget – any budget at all.  It’s time to stop spending any more money – proposing any new programs and figure out what truly is and isn’t working.  The word CUT needs to truly mean cut and not just reduce the growth rate.  It is possible to actually improve some programs at the same time you are reducing the cost of the program.  Focus on reducing waste, duplication, and fraud in government programs and we’ll find ways to bring down the deficit.  Yes – some of the issues we face today are due to a sluggish economy and the drop in tax revenue that brings – but let’s encourage the private sector to get things revved up.  Accelerating private sector growth will drive revenue to help in deficit reduction.  Increasing tax rates is counter productive – although some tax reform is in order.

Alternative energy investment should be considered carefully – while global climate change occurs as part of a cyclic phenomenon, it is unclear how mankind can make significant impact to this cycle.  We should not be pouring in tax dollars chasing a theory.  Instead – get Keystone online, continue to reduce dependency on foreign oil, and make investments that make sense in alternative energy.  I’m just wondering what will happen to all the batteries we’ll need to dispose of on all of these electric vehicles?  More money for preschool education – noble idea, but there are studies that show earlier learning opportunities may not contribute to improvements in the later years – but improvements in our current elementary schools will – but that doesn’t mean spend more money necessarily – make elementary school learning more effective – and hold schools accountable for results.

Stop spending, roll up our sleeves, and do the hard work worthy of a congressman, a senator, a president.  President Obama – you were elected for a second term based on misrepresentations and hollow promises – but you have won.  Stop campaigning and start learning how to be a leader, not just a community organizer – Our country is much bigger than that, and the risk of failure is much greater.  You need to put aside your philosophical approach and get down to real facts and worthy bipartisan solutions.  The State of our Union is NOT strong as you suggest – it is in a state of polarization and the time has come to bring this country together – or, with all due respect,  get out of the way and let someone take over who can.

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First of all – Happy New Year!  We survived the end of the world (Dec 21, 2012), and now have been led to the edge of the cliff, had one leg and one arm over it, and then were pulled back.  But did we really?  If you really look at what we’ve accomplished – I’d say it amounts to about nothing, especially when it comes to spending.  The reality of the situation is we actually jumped off the cliff on November 6th.

Much to the false claims of Obama – taxes will be going up on at least 77% of all Americans (not just the 1%.  Obamacare is laden with hidden taxes here and there.  The balanced approach Obama speaks of must mean that for every additional cent he can grab in revenue, he’ll balance that with a cent of increased spending – to hell with the 16 trillion we owe.  Now that he has been re-elected, he can exert his will to accomplish his far left ideology – destroying the country as we know it.

This country has a spending problem – not just a little problem, but an enormous problem.  WE MUST STOP SPENDING!  We can not afford to continue to allow every government program, including entitlements to continue to grow willy nilly. The government – ALL of it, needs to redefine what the word “cut” means, what “balance” means, and what “debt” means.  Reducing the rate of growth in spending is NOT the same as cutting spending.  This madness must stop.

The President has little comprehension of leadership, which has led to the most divisive congress I’ve seen in my lifetime.  The buck stops with him and how he handles leadership.  Our country failed to elect a leader – it instead chose a crafty politician who is putting his own radical ideas into play, rather than providing the leadership this country so desperately needs.  Leadership of all Americans – that means it is important for the President to work diligently to lead both parties to work together – bringing together good ideas from both sides and blending them into solutions that work for all.

We have a spending problem – you fix a spending problem by looking at ways to eliminate waste, refine processes to improve efficiency, and by driving continuous improvements.  That does not mean that services must be eliminated or even reduced – just executed more efficiently.  We have a spending problem – freeze all levels of spending at some baseline rate – be it 2008, or even 2010 levels (and remove unusual one time expenditures – like wars).  Now – do everything possible to maintain or increase the levels of services based on this baseline amount – I guarantee you that waste and other inefficiencies will be found, and more can be done with less.  This is the attitude our entire congress must adopt.  That is what a leader would do – take on the real problem head on – not just add to it.  If our government was a business, the board of directors would have ousted the entire lot and brought in new blood to get the job done.  Unfortunately, emotions and blatant misinformation has led America to already jump off the cliff.

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What has happened to America’s values?  Why do we have such divisive political campaigns, why do Union members physically attack other Americans who have different views, why is there so much hate in people’s hearts.  I know the love is there though – I see it when America is tested – after 9/11, after the shootings at Virginia Tech, and again now after Newtown.  Americans are a good lot, but for some reason, we keep it hidden.  I feel part of what this country has lost is an identity – Political Correctness has led us to be oversensitive of our beliefs.  We have become afraid to just be Americans – as it may offend someone…  Constructive debate is healthy, having fun is healthy, winning is a good thing, competition drives excellence.  So – we have little league teams that don’t count the score, we rarely have actual debates where complex issues are argued in more than just sound bites, we vilify the successful.  More importantly – we have failed each other when we are not well – mentally. Our evening entertainment on most networks has turned into nothing but trash, our electronic world is filled with ultra realistic killing games.  It’s not all bad news, there are shining examples of virtuous, tasteful, and clever entertainment.  What has happened to our value system, our identity as an exceptional nation.  I thought I might take the Boy Scout Law and identify what America needs to do to get back on track…

Trustworthy – Always seek and speak the truth, the whole truth – don’t hide the truth, or act unless the whole truth is understood.

Loyal – Stand up for your friends and allies – but being loyal goes two ways – don’t let you friends and allies down.

Helpful – Help those who can not help themselves – or need a hand to lift them back up, be generous with that help.

Friendly – Embrace others, their culture, their uniqueness, while sharing your own.

Courteous – Open a door for a stranger, thank someone, say please.

Kind – Care for each other, including our animal friends.

Obedient – Abide by the laws, but also be disciplined in your values.

Cheerful – Laugh, smile, help others to laugh and enjoy life.

Thrifty – Use your resources wisely – Money, time, talent.

Brave – Stand up for your values, don’t be afraid to take up the gauntlet and do what needs to be done.

Clean – Keep yourself clean – physically and mentally.  Keep your environment clean.

Reverent – Have faith – Have humility.  While this is a personal choice, I chose to believe in God.

What if we all would abide by this law – we seem bent on throwing out the 10 Commandments.  America needs to stand up and again establish an identity – through how we conduct our foreign affairs, with our own resources, with how we entertain and enjoy life.  All American should consider this simple law and take up the responsibility to follow it.  America needs to allow itself to dream again – to invent the future, a bright future.

So, are you with US?

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Well, it’s over – the incessant negative ads, the robo-calls, the debates and all of the spin.  All said and done, Barack Obama pulled off a win by playing a politically savvy ground game.  I’m disappointed  to say the least, as I really believe our country just got it wrong.  It seems as though the country was just to lazy to make the tough choice and move in a direction where hard decisions and hard work would bring back America’s greatness.  In essence, the country was left in a condition on November 7th it was in on November 5th.  A divided congress and a community organizer in control.  I guess that was just the easy choice?  Barack took the job of Commander-in-Chief four years ago with little to no experience in business, foreign policy, or leadership.  Four years later, well, you can see what lack of experience gives you as the days and weeks after the election bear the fruit of our choice.  The hidden scandals, the Benghazi story of the week, the mess in Egypt and the Middle East, and it goes on and on…

Do I sound bitter?  Maybe, but my biggest disappointment of all is the missed opportunity America had within its grasp to have a genuine leader in the White House.  Was Mitt the most slick politician? The most skillful debater? Was he the one with the all the best solutions?  I think we could agree the answers to those questions are probably a no.  The thing is, Mitt has been successful as a businessman, a governor, a leader, and a great man.  He’s quietly helped many people in his life, through his time and talents, and yes, his success as a businessman.  America lost a shot at having someone with an exemplary character actual lead this nation to become something it hasn’t been for a while.  Our experiment with socialism has pushed us closer to a country of entitlements, high taxes, and a business suffocating government bent on redistributing wealth at the expense of our country’s greatness.

What would have been so bad if we had tried, even just for four years, to have a true leader help drive us back towards greatness?  America lost on November 6th.  Mitt is truly a great father, husband, and leader who cared passionately for this country – who wanted a shot at helping America turn around – and who would have worked hard to make it happen.  America lost.

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Well – spin this as you might, but judging from the various reactions of the “non-spinners”, I do believe Mitt pulled off another victory.  I do agree President Obama  did step it up a notch for this debate, and he had a couple of moments, although I don’t know I remember what they were.  I certainly don’t think responding to everything your opponent just said as “none of that is true” each time it’s your turn is a proper debating technique.  Obama was weak on energy and taxes, and did not provide any convincing argument around fixing the economy.  The interesting thing about Obama is he did seem to get into a better groove towards the end of the debate.  His tirade on his activities around Libya and his bravado that the buck stops with him seem to give him more energy and confidence, but he never answered the question asked of him about the refusal to provide additional security – or if you take his answer as what he actually said – security was refused and its his fault because he was responsible.  He forfeited his final statement of the debate by not taking an opportunity to again answer the question posed.  Instead he chose to bring up the 47% statement of Romney and continued his negative attack.  The question posed offered Obama a chance to counter how his opponents are portraying him and to talk about himself in a positive light – maybe he just didn’t have anything he could say? Romney had a number of good moments, challenging the President on drilling permits for oil and natural gas production on federal lands and laying out the litany of failures of the President over the past four years.  I think the moderator tripped up Mitt a bit with the unusual “life line” she threw Obama on the “act of terror” comment – which in the end, Mitt was actually correct.  Mitt lost the opportunity at that moment to slam Obama on the continued confusion the administration has created over the terrible Benghazi attack.  One other thought – the questions chosen were a bit lame and I really think they should give the debaters 3 minutes each instead of the two.  I did not like this debate as much as the first.

We do have a big choice ahead of us – and let me stop for a moment and say, I do believe Obama is a good man, father, and husband.  I’ve always thought he was intelligent and a skilled campaigner.  My biggest concern with Obama is his inexperience as a leader.  It shows he does not have what it takes to be a good, strong leader – a leader that has the skills to bring opposing ideas together in a way that develops a new approach to solving the most difficult issues.  He’s a smart man, who promised hope and change and was skilled at least at selling that “product”.  He just did not deliver – you can’t step into the job of POTUS and learn leadership skills “on the job”.

On the other hand, Mitt Romney HAS leadership skills.  He is driven to succeed at what ever he takes on.  He does understand the private sector – he must, given his success.  Knowing how to examine a business, understand its strengths and weaknesses, and devise a path to improve the health of that business is what Mitt has been doing.  We can not stay on the path we are on for another four years.  A change must be made now in the course of America before it’s too late.  We need to change direction quickly and decisively to keep this grand experiment, the United States, alive and growing.

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Biden-Ryan debate – ok, if you want to call it that.  I did not enjoy this one as much as the Obama-Romney debate, at all.  Biden was very disrespectful in his demeanor through the fist half of the debate.  The laughing, interruptions and other gesticulations were not that of a Vice President, but of a calculating politician trying to distract and divert the viewers for focusing on what Ryan was saying.  I do feel Biden had some moments were he seemed more in control, more in command with his convictions in his answers, but for the most part he was simply put – rude.  In a debate, you orate on the topics by describing your philosophy, your approach, your stance, etc.  You then allow the other debater to do the same.  Each presents his point of view, presenting facts to support those views.  By calling someones views malarkey, stuff, or laugh it off is childish and quite disrespectful.  It also creates an air of hostility and confrontation which prevents good intentioned people to listen to find common ground.  Simply look at this administrations methods of dealing with concepts they may not agree with (as illustrated clearly at this debate) and you wonder why we have gridlock in congress?

A couple of points in this debate I’d like to hit on:

Biden indicated he did not know of any requests for security for our consulate in Benghazi – I think the phrase was “we weren’t told”.  I do not know which “we” he is referring to,  my assumption is the “we” was him and Obama?  From testimony in congress earlier this week, and has been reported in previous weeks, there was definitely requests for additional security that apparently were denied – not once, but multiple times.  So, the requested may have been handled below POTUS, and therefore, Biden’s statement may technically be correct, however, since he is in a position of leadership and responsible for the safety of Americans abroad, then this is a clear example of incompetent leadership.  ON this same subject, Biden threw the Intelligence Community under the bus as well.  Seems like with this administration, there are always others to blame when things go wrong – Where is the leadership this country deserves, where is the backbone to stand up and take responsibility – not just for things that go right – but for those things that went wrong?  A leader does not throw his team under the bus!

Another irritating point in this debate is the preponderance of misinformation and the use of supposed facts that are complete distortions.  The 5 trillion tax cut, the voucher program, the $6000 increase  for seniors due to the Romney plan.  Just because Obama and Biden continue to spout these numbers every time they speak, does not make them facts, or endearing truths – they are what they are – complete and utter distortions of the facts.

Finally – the 2014 timeline for Afghanistan.  Yes, we’ve been there too long, and we need to bring an end to our involvement.  But to lay down an ultimatum as Biden did in public, in front of the enemy (sure this kind of information gets to them) is just plain irresponsible.  I would agree we want the Afghans to provide for their own security.  I also agree a timeline to leave provides incentive for them to pick up their responsibilities.  However, we need to be mindful, assessing the situation at frequent intervals to determine when and how we extract ourselves from the theater.  We privately drive deadlines to the Afghan leaders, we push them to be ready.  BUT, we don’t tell the world we are leaving “period” in 2014 – even if the situation would prescribe otherwise??  We leave at the wrong time and we lose everything we fought for over the past 12 years and reset this region to become a safe haven for future Al-Qaeda and Taliban recruits.  Biden basically is saying – we’re out, even if your really not ready, even if the Taliban is simply waiting us out, even if we lose everything we’ve gained. Irresponsible.

I give the win to Ryan, who was polite and patient.  He seemed a bit weak at times and sometimes frustrated with Biden’s interruptions   but he kept his cool.  Biden did have moments, but erased his successes with his disrespect.  I’m looking forward to next Tuesday as the setting changes once again – Can Romney pull off another decisive win?

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What an event!  Anticipation had been building for weeks – the first of a three game series.  There had been lots of trash talk going on for the month leading into the event – name calling, accusations, misrepresentations.  One team was seen as having an edge, favored to win – even though the past month had been kind of tough.  The other team, looking at reality, determined to minimize damages and lower expectations, took up the role as underdog.  The night arrived and both teams prepped, scrimmages against surrogates, and practiced their one liners.  Obama won the coin toss and chose to take the first question – and it went down hill from there.

The debate actually was one of the better ones in recent years.  While Jim Lehrer had difficulties keeping the two warriors on track, the exchange of wit and wisdom was exciting.  Romney took the ball and went on the offensive – he explained his position clearly, and the scene morphed into that of a teacher lecturing his student.  Throughout the duration of the debate, Romney remained energetic and on the offensive.  Obama struggled less the teleprompter, and repeating his 30 sec commercial sound bites became monotonous.  Rhetoric vs sensible explanations wins every time.  When the dust settled, and the last word spoken, it was a very clear win for the challenger – delivering at a level beyond expectations.  Time of possession favored the incumbent (42 min, 40 sec), versus the 38 min, 14 sec for Romney.  Romney did have more words though…

For those on the fence, this must have been able to push them over to the Romney camp – if they listened and watched carefully.  Even the liberal media conceded the win to Mitt – and immediately looked for who or what to blame on his poor performance.  Al Gore contributed his poor performance to the Denver thin air (interesting as it appeared Romney was breathing the same thin air).  Others wondered if he was distracted by something – his anniversary, pressing Presidential duties (next visit to The View), something had him off his game.  I’m waiting for this to be George’s fault!

The key plays of the night:

When Mitt asked Obama why he spent his first two years shoving Obamacare legislation down the throats of congress instead of focusing on jobs – given the President “inherited” such a messed up economy.

When Mitt explained how he worked across the aisle in Massachusetts where he faced an 87% democratic majority.

When Mitt asked why Obama did nothing with the Simpson-Boles legislation when it was presented – why did he not lead and bring the parties together to work out the differences.

When Obama reached out to Jim to move on to the next topic when he had no answers to Mitt’s questions – when he really couldn’t defend his rhetoric.

The choice was never made clearer in this first debate – Mitt Romney wants to help this country get back on track, and he has the experience and drive to make it happen.  One down, two more to go (plus the VP debate – which also is going to be quite entertaining!).  I’m looking forward to the next game – Obama has a lot of work to do if he thinks he can even this series up.

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Just four months to go and we’ll elect the next president of the United States.  The campaigns are gearing up to rev up their supporters and sound bites fill the air with half-truths at best, and in many cases, outright lies.  Words or actions are twisted like a pretzel to portray the candidate as if they are monsters.  That seems to be the method of choice for most campaigns, and based on the handlers that look at reaction to these negative campaigns, they seem to work.  I’m not certain if that’s a good reflection on either the campaigners or the people it sways?  Negative campaigns in most political contests are expected at some level, but at the presidential level, it seems to really lower to prestige of the office.  This country is really suffering – suffering from mistakes of the past, from global economic realities, from lack of exceptional leadership.  President Obama is not a skilled leader, but a talented campaigner.  He’s been in campaign mode since he started his quest for office – and is still in that mode.  Any of the policies he has desired to push through have not been promoted with a healthy debate on the merits, but mainly by negatives (typical campaign approach) related to alternate approaches.  This constant barrage of negativism over the past 3 1/2 years is  further divided congress and the American people.

There have been a number of attacks on Romney by the Obama campaign that are either simply false, or at best a twisted version of reality.  Romney is a businessman who knows what it takes to run a company, to drive profits and grow businesses.  You do this by understanding how business operates, and understanding how to improve efficiencies.  Companies that are profitable can expand, can grow, can hire, and can help other companies to grow (by using them in the supply chain).  Expansion may even take place in other countries (yes, we operate in a Global economy).  That’s what business is about – growth through innovation, growth through efficiencies, growth through expansion.  It’s clear that our bloated, inefficient government could use some proven business processes to reduce expenses and run more effectively.  Let’s have a healthy debate on that – instead of calling Romney a felon, let’s have a discussion on how Obamacare is going to be an efficient program that will truly help our health care system?  Instead of calling Romney the king of outsourcing, lets talk about elimination of wasteful government spending.  Let’s stop talking in sound bites and have a discussion on how we can reduce the size of the government and improve the lives of all Americans by getting America back to work.

I think the most frustrating thing is many Americans make decisions just on sound bites, because it’s too hard to understand the reality of the facts. Wake up America – before it’s too late!

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