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    Partisan Politicians are Ignoring the Needs of Americans

    As much as some in Washington would like the taxpayers to believe Obamacare is working, we all know it is not.  Obamacare may have been a laudable attempt to solve a real problem, but it dismally failed.

    Billions of dollars have been spent by taxpayers—with millions still uninsured. There has been a steady increase of health insurance costs—some of them extreme like the 116% increase in Arizona. There has been a decrease in choices for one’s doctor. Health insurance companies continue to drop out of Obamacare—for example, in New Jersey, Aetna, UnitedHealthcare, and Health Republic United left the marketplace, leaving two companies to dominate.   Drug costs are reaching new heights that Americans cannot afford.

    The Affordable Care Act is really not all that affordable. Sure, it’s helped some, but it’s hurt many more.  The issues are there for everyone to see—the taxpayers live and breathe it. We must gain control of the skyrocketing costs of insurance, medical equipment, and drugs. Healthcare must be brought back to choice and competition before it’s too late.

    Repeal and replace is not the answer. Obamacare doesn’t need to be thrown out in its entirety.  It simply needs to be fixed.  So why can’t the politicos in Washington find some compromise that will lead to a solution?   Because the politicos in Washington are caught up in partisan politics and ignoring the needs of Americans.

    Why not open up the exchanges so that people can choose from out-of-state?  Doing so will drive competition up and prices down; allow employers greater flexibility in employee coverage; get rid of the fee for not having health insurance; and expand HSAs and provide a tax credit based on age, which will assist middle class citizens who aren’t covered by their employer.  No one seems to argue that those changes would help—again, because the politicos in Washington are caught up in partisan politics and ignoring the needs of Americans.

    Neither side of the aisle is willing to compromise—Republicans want to completely repeal and replace, and Democrats want to keep it totally in place. If we work together to create a plan that will benefit all Americans, America will be in a much better place.

    This isn’t a Republican issue or a Democrat issue.  It’s an American issue that needs serious compromise. Sadly, it’s business as usual in the Washington swamp.

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    America: More Divided Than Ever; A Desperate Need for Bipartisanship

    America is becoming more divided by the day. We watch as President Trump signs an executive order that is then almost immediately blocked by the courts. Democrats and Republicans in Congress are constantly at each other’s throats. Liberals and conservatives tear each other apart on Twitter and Facebook because they can. No one is looking for solutions to problems but for reasons to viciously argue a point of view. Once again, it feels like nothing is getting done because everyone is too busy trying to hammer someone to the ground with their heated opinions.

    I am here to call for bipartisanship. It can and will work, but only if we try—really try, on both sides of the aisle. Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were both flawed, and yet they found a way to work with their opposition, balance budgets, and keep our country safe. Reagan had to work with Tip O’Neill and Ted Kennedy, and Clinton had to work with Newt Gingrich—a cast of characters who could not have been more divisive at times and opposite in viewpoints.

    And yet, essentially, it worked. Each President approached these challenges differently, as so many leaders do. But they got their jobs done.

    If America has a unified, bipartisanship approach to the issues, we can succeed. And I think we will be surprised and pleased with the progress that we will accomplish when we join forces, rather than allow partisan politicos to create a larger divide.

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    The First Amendment and Violence

    Violence silences the very people who need to be heard.

    Since the inauguration, America has seen an influx of violence from protestors. We have seen events like what happened in California, where the violence at a university caused a temporary shutdown of the streets. In nationwide riots, protestors have damaged or destroyed both public and private property.

    The actions of the violent have drowned out the voices of those who want to exercise their right under the First Amendment.

    This is not about whether we like or dislike what someone might say. It’s about a core right in our Constitution to let people speak their minds freely, regardless of how offensive we might find a person’s views. Violent protestors only serve to suppress a person’s right to exercise free speech.

    Those who were peacefully protesting also had their rights stifled. The violent protestors made the nationwide news and caused the police to shut down the streets, ruining the ability for the peaceful protestors to continue or for their issues to be discussed in a reasonable forum.

    The Constitution shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or the right of the people peaceably to assemble. Nowhere in the Constitution is the right to violent assembly. I condemn any side of the aisle that resorts to violence or suppresses free speech in any way, whether it’s a march or a display of art in the Capital; I will always abide by the undeniable fact that the First Amendment is your Constitutional right.

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    Be Thankful for Our Freedoms. Pray for Paris. Demand More from Your Leaders.

    As Thanksgiving nears and we witness the horrors of the Paris attacks, Americans are once again reminded to be thankful for the freedoms we enjoy. But we must also remember those freedoms are only protected by vigilant law enforcement, strong national defense, and an aware citizenry. We all mourn with our allies in France. We all agree that we cannot allow society to become victimized by Islamic extremist barbarians like those who murdered innocent people in France under a misguided belief that their God condones such atrocities. Say what you will about any religion, but none, including Islam and the Quran, justify such cowardly acts. If not stopped they will continue and expand into other countries, including America.

    The reaction of politicians has been all too predictable.

    President Obama, in remarks on Friday, said, “We’re going to do whatever it takes to work with the French people and with nations around the world to bring these terrorists to justice, and to go after any terrorist networks that go after our people.” I guess we’ll continue to wait, as we always seem to do, to hear what the president has in mind and what strategy, if any, he will deploy. If it’s placing another 50 advisors into Syria, that is far too little, far too late. Hillary Clinton had little more to add. While her heartfelt sympathy for Parisians is sincere, former Secretary Clinton also failed to express any plan of attack.

    Using an odd analogy, Ben Carson commented that allowing Syrian refugees into the United States is akin to medical malpractice and opined that withdrawing from Iraq after the Gulf War created the vacuum that allowed ISIS to grow. Other candidates conveyed condolences for the losses endured by the French. But some went further, weighing in on Twitter. Ted Cruz tweeted, “We must make it clear that affiliation w/ ISIS & related terrorist groups brings w/ it the undying enmity of America.”

    Not surprisingly, Donald Trump was less diplomatic, tweeting, “President Obama said ISIL continues to shrink in an interview just hours before the horrible attack in Paris. He is just so bad! CHANGE.” and “We need much tougher, much smarter leadership – and we need it NOW!” Even Newt Gingrich chimed in with a tweet, “Imagine a theater with 10 or 15 citizens with concealed carry permits. We live in an age when evil men have to be killed by good people.”

    Not a single politician with a plan. And no doubt as the days pass, we’ll hear more rhetoric from presidential wannabes. The Democrats will criticize the Republicans and the Republicans will criticize President Obama. It will be more of what we’re all tired of hearing.

    Now is not the time for politics and rhetoric. It is a time for decisive leadership. We need to seriously consider an alliance with all other threatened nations, including Russia, to eradicate the ISIS cancer. If that means boots on the ground, so be it. We need to make it clear that we will not stand by while Middle East leaders fail to lend adequate support to the solution, including ending our financial aid if they continue on the sidelines. The leadership of the Muslim community must speak out more forcibly and encourage every Muslim worldwide to cooperate and identify those who mean us harm. We need to strike at the sources of ISIS finances and weapons, even if that means destroying oil wells ISIS controls. We and our allies need to seize, not just freeze, the assets of any financial institution that harbors terrorist funds. Arms dealers need to be held responsible. We know who they are and where they operate. Shut them down. And as regrettable as it may be, we need to think hard before we fight enemies that pose little threat to our heartland. Enemies like Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. As diabolical as Assad is and as antithetical he may be to our beliefs, his regime poses no credible threat to the United States.

    ISIS is the one enemy that every right-thinking person─including Americans, French, and Russians─agrees must be annihilated.

    President Obama is in Turkey at the G-20 after which he goes to Paris for a summit on climate change. While economic issues on the agenda in Turkey and climate change discussions in Paris are important, they pale in comparison to the ISIS threat. Let us pray that President Obama uses those meetings as an opportunity to build a true coalition and stop being the paper tiger ISIS seems to believe we and our allies are.

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    Crime — Weary of Washington

    Crime in our inner cities is destroying an entire segment of our youth while Washington throws money at the problem, without a clue as to why we have the problem in the first place. All the money in the world isn’t going to fix our cities until the children of those cities have stable families to come home to. Secretary Clinton likes to say “No Child Left Behind.” That’s a nice thought. But the reality is the broken homes need to be fixed. The absent fathers need to come home. The churches need to be filled. The schools need to teach. And the police need to care. Money alone won’t make any of that happen. Our compassion and love, however, can. So before we approve yet another piece of legislation that throws money at the problem, let’s first ask ourselves if the money will go to support families and cities, rather than simply satisfy Washington’s conscience.

     

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    Ten Sentences. 462 Words.

    Two debates in today’s headlines are deeply concerning. In one, the underlying investigation is very important while in the other it is entirely irrelevant. So at first blush, they may seem unrelated. But in truth, they have a common and disturbing theme – disrespect of fundamental Constitutional rights that some believe frustrate justice or the search for the truth.

    In Congress, important hearings are being held to determine if the IRS targeted conservative groups by delaying or denying them non-profit status. Amid these hearings, a Congressional Committee found Lois Lerner, an IRS employee, in contempt of Congress after she asserted her Constitutional right not to testify.

    In the media, some question Hillary Clinton’s integrity because in 1975 she successfully represented an accused rapist as his court appointed attorney.

    Under media pressure, Secretary Clinton responded to critics by saying, “When you’re a lawyer you often don’t have the choice as to who you will represent and, by the very nature of criminal law, there will be those you represent that you don’t approve of but, at least in our system, you have an obligation, and once I was appointed I fulfilled that obligation.” In a CNN interview, the prosecutor in the case, Mahlon Gibson, defended Secretary Clinton more bluntly – “If you are appointed by the court, you damn better do everything you can do to defend them.”

    The fundamental underpinning behind Ms. Lerner’s refusal to testify and Secretary Clinton’s defense of a man many thought guilty, is the very fabric of America – our Constitution’s Bill of Rights. In their entirety, these Amendments are a mere 462 words. Yet there are no more powerful words than those contained in the ten sentences that comprise the Bill of Rights. At issue with Ms. Lerner and Secretary Clinton are the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. They read in part:

    Fifth Amendment

    No person shall be … compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…

    Sixth Amendment

    In all criminal prosecutions … the accused shall have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense…

    Our Founding Fathers did not ratify these out of thin air. In adopting the Bill of Rights, they wanted to assure that the oppression and suppression that caused America to fight its revolution for freedom would never be repeated. When anyone invokes these protections, it is not for use to be critical or judgmental. Indeed, it is reason to celebrate and remember that such inalienable rights do not exist elsewhere and are a blessing we must never forget.

    So to Ms. Lerner, I applaud her right to assert the Fifth Amendment. Exercising that right is not for me – or Congress – to judge. It may make the job of Congress harder. It may delay the investigation and finding of some of the facts. But in a contest between efficiency and the Constitution, the Constitution must win.

    As for Secretary Clinton’s successful defense of an accused rapist, I can only look upon that with the deepest appreciation of her role in not only defending someone accused of a crime, but also defending the Constitution by assuring the accused received an effective defense. As a former prosecutor, I can assure you that I admired no criminal defense lawyer more than those who understood the Constitution and defended it and their clients to the utmost of their ability. That’s what makes our system of justice work.

    So my advice to Congress is to stop looking for scapegoats and get on with your job and for media to stop giving ink to critics who ought to be thankful that there are people like Hillary Clinton ready to defend them and preserve Constitutional freedom. Secretary Clinton and I differ on many issues, but on this one, we’re in complete alignment.

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    Competition — the Foundation of Democracy and Prosperity

    Competition is at the foundation of a healthy economy. The ability to compete freely and excel above the competition is the motivation pushing industries and entrepreneurs to lead the world in technology and invention. Yet repeatedly we see our foreign competitors protected by their governments from the very competition that makes open economies the leaders of the free world. These controls are seen as a way to protect the jobs and livelihoods of their local citizens. In truth, such policies only serve to drive down their citizens’ standard of living, keep innovation outside its borders, and cost all our economies untold millions lost in support of inefficiencies. We must drop our trade barriers and persuade world governments to drop theirs as well. If the world market is not a market of open competition, we will all be forced to replace lost competition with protectionism, a result that hurts all people throughout the world. Let us lead the way.

     

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    Terrorism — Time to Strike at Its Heart

    Terrorism can never be allowed to control our lives or our destiny. We must never give in to its demands. Every terrorist and the countries supporting them must learn they will achieve nothing in these personal wars of theirs. The condemnation and wrath of the civilized world is the only reward they will receive. I lost my only son to terrorists who proved nothing other than their inhumanity. I will not let America’s spirit be the victim of such individuals or nations. We will not be intimidated, and we will strike at the very hearts of those who believe we would ever cower before them.

     

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    Democracy — Defending an American Ideal

    Democracy is a precious blessing America must never take for granted. We must always be prepared to defend it and, when possible, support those in the world who seek it. As democracy takes hold in Egypt, Syria, Iran, and elsewhere, we must commit our resources to ensure these newly freed countries find their path to democracy as painlessly as possible. That is not to say they will not experience pain or turmoil, for they indeed will. What we and all free democracies throughout the world must do is provide both financial and spiritual support. The alternative is something we cannot even consider. As the New Hampshire state motto so proudly declares, “Live free or die.”

     

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    Children — A World Crisis

    What’s going on? Children have become targets of criminals unlike ever before. On our southern borders, we see them illegally immigrating by the thousands, as their parents abandon them. In Africa, we see girls being kidnapped by  the hundreds to eventually find themselves in the slavery market. In the Middle East, kids are being murdered for no reason, inciting aggressive counter-violence. And here in the United States, we see an alarming increase in teenagers on murder sprees, and young brothers and sisters being killed by random gunshots in our inner cities. Has global society lost its mind? Is there anything we as Americans can do about it? As is the case with most complex issues, there is no easy answer; no immediate solution. But two things are clearly needed: leadership and action in Washington – both of which are sorely lacking in America today. Instead of focusing on weeding out the criminals, freeing the children, addressing the complicated mental health issues, and constructively dealing with broken families in our cities, Washington continues its all too typical oratory. Politicians decry the crime and violence. They promise solutions. They establish panels and hold hearings. Yet no progress is made; no meaningful legislation is adopted. Responsibility for all of this starts and ends at the top – the Oval Office – where we have what can best be described as a mostly absentee and tone deaf President flooding the airwaves with rhetoric and unfulfilled promises. We need change. What we don’t need is another Democrat in the White House.

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