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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UBEE DVW3201B is an excllent and inexpensive cable modem.

The Motorola/ARRIS cable modems are often unreliable

Had been using a Motorola SBG6580 SURFboard Wireless Cable Modem which always seem to run slow. I have Brighthouse Lightening service that is supposed to run at 60 mbs, but the Motorola modem ran at about half that speed. 

One of the Brighthouse call center techs indicated the SGB6580 has an upgrade. The newer units have a metal plate on the back suggesting the 6580G may have some sort of radio frequency (RF) leakage problem. 

Bought one of these modems because I wanted to be able to configure it and to disable wireless on the unit. 

When you buy a cable modem, you can set the firewall to high, disable the wireless and password protect the unit. When a cable company installs its unit, you are at its mercy. 

Of interest, most cable modems have a user password and an administrative (admin) password that only the cable companies know. Try this for the admin login and password: The admin login is the last 8 characters of your MAC address (no colons) with c0nf1gur3m3 as the password

Also tried the MOTOROLA SB6121 SURFboard Cable Modem. This unit is less expensive and only has one Ethernet port while the 6580 has four. The Internet frequently stopped working after installing this unit.  The transmit and receive lights would blink orange on the 6121 and then the Internet would stop. So the unit was returned for a refund. 

The UBEE DVW3201B has none of these problems. It has four Ethernet ports and two voice (RJ-11) ports. Need two Voice over IP (VOIP) lines: one for a landline and the other for faxing. 


 This UBEE unit is large: 9 x 9 x 2  inches

In the past Brighthouse would have to install a second voice modem on a coax splitter if you needed a second voice line.  "A multimedia terminal adapter (MTA), or Home Phone modem, operates much the same as a cable modem, but an MTA can deliver home phone service in addition to high speed Internet."

Four Ethernet and two voice ports on the UBEE DVW3201B

The UBEE  DVW3201B provides both Internet data and two voice ports. Called BrightHouse technical support who referred the call  to the Road Runner help desk. It took about one hour to provision the unit for both voice and data. 

Now no longer need the splitter for two modems. This UBEE does it all and my Internet is running above 60 mbs. 

Best of all, you can purchase one of these UBEE cable modems for about $16 on Amazon.com. The 'used" unit I purchased appeared to be brand new. Although this is a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem, UBEE has newer models out today, so perhaps the company is trying to liquidate the older units. 

Buy one before they are gone.

source: 
http://support.brighthouse.com/Article/Difference-Between-Cable-Modem-MTA-4212/


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Friday, December 5, 2014

A home entertainment system for about $1000

The new 4K LCD/LED TVs are popular and coupled with a 4K DVD player and a 5:1 soundbar, you can  have a very capable home entrainment system.

The 4K TVS are ahead of their time, so finding 4k media can be a challenge, Have found less than 50 4K DVDS for sale on Amazon.com and Ebay. Found two 4k streaming videos on Amazon Prime and about 25 on Netflix.

The best media broadcasts in the US are 1080P and likely to stay that way for many years. In Korea, 4K broadcasts have been compressed and broadcast over conventional HD (1080P) . However, you would need a special setup box or TV tuner for this to work. The broadcast would have to be compressed and decompressed, causing latency in the video stream.

You don't need a Smart TV unless they are a better deal than a dumb TV.  Why,? Because smart TVS are inferior  in many ways to media on a a Roku appliance that features Netflix, Amazon prime and many other apps and news media.

A 4K Samsung Smart TV has the same functionality as a Smart DVD player such as the Samsung BD-F7500 4K Upscaling 3D Wi-Fi Blu-ray Disc Player. The DVD player costs far less than the cost of the TV. So if you want Roku functionality without buying a Roku unit, buy the 4K upscaling DVD player

Watched Ghostbusters I tonight on one of these upscaling  DVD players and it was amazing. The point is if you want to get much out of a UHDTV, you will need streaming 4k media from the Internet  or some 4k mastered DVDs. You will need a 4k Blu ray DVD player for 4k DVDs.

Be aware too that 4K TVs are really Ultra High Definition (UHDTVs). UHDTV is is 3840 pixels wide by 2160 pixels tall (8.29 megapixels). There is even a higher resolution 8K Super Hi-vison TV in Japan.

To finish off you home entertainment system,  check out a 5:1 soundbar. The VIZIO S4251w-B4 5.1 Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer and Satellite Speakers is an excellent system that has a fiber optic TOS interface to a UHD or HDTV. It connects using Bluetooth to a remote subwoofer that has wired connections to two rear speakers. 

Once I got the subwoofer powered up, the subwoofer and the two remotes started to work. Be aware that both your home router and Bluetooth enabled PC can interfere with the Bluetooth connection between the soundbar and the subwoofer. 

You can have such a system for about $1000 depending on what you pay for the UHDTV or HDTV.  An upscaling 4K or UHD DVD player should cost about $200 or less. The 42 inch Vizio Soundbar was on sale for about $200 on Cyber Monday, it is now a $100 more, but watch for a price drop.

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra-high-definition_television

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Once you receive a disability, don't let the VA Medical Center reopen the case.



After a 10 year ordeal,  I was given a disability rating  by the CW Bill Young Veterans Affairs Regional Office (VARO) about 10 months ago. The was after two Board of Veteran Appeals (BVA) hearings, four remands and a Decision Review Officer (DRO) Hearing. 

During the claims period I probably wrote more than 1000 pages of documentation, got 12 letters from board certified physicians and also filed several Disability Benefits Questionnaires. The BVA's Veteran Law Judge described my testimony as a highly credible. Even went through the Social Security disability process at the BVA's recommendation  and prevailed there, too.

Finally got the disability rating I deserved, Oh, what a relief it is!

The lifestyle of my spouse and I greatly improved in the past 10 months. We have been able to do lot more for out three children. Have been helping one of my son's start a salt water aquarium business. 

Thought the disability ordeal was over, but found out on my last appointment at Bay Pines that it was not. The old head of the department had transferred to another location and I was given an appointment with a new specialist.

The appointment was peculiar and conducted more like a compensation and pension (C&P) exam.  Had to provide a lot of background information that was in my claim file (c-file) to the doctor. My wife has a great memory for dates so we were able to provide the doctor a history of my medical conditions including dates. The appointment broke down when the physician wanted an additional MRI scan, another diagnostic blood test and another procedure, all of which had already been completed.

Had i agreed to the tests, it would probably have reopened the claim. Since my disabilities are permanent and total, I viewed additional testing as a fool's errand. Told the doctor he was trying to "reinvent the wheel." Said that wheel was already rolling. The appointment started to "go south" down at that point.

The physician had an epiphany and realized his patient was not a fool and then asked me what my last occupation was. Told him IT and intelligence while i was in the Air Force. At this point we had been in the office nearly 1.5 hours and he wanted to move on to another patient.

Game over! 

After the appointment, checked my medication list on MyHealthEVet. Two of my meds were gone, and one was life essential. It appeared the physicians was being vindictive and had canceled the medications. The next day I checked my medication history and found that the physician had actually deleted four of my medications.

I called CW Bill Young Patient Advocates office the next day and reported the bizarre appointment and the deletion of my meds, one of which is life sustaining. I was refereed to the Assistant Direct of Medical something, by a woman named Danielle. She said she would  file a report to the head of the department in question.

The day after the appointment,I was able get the physician’s progress notes of the meeting. Found a lot of things in the progress notes that were peculiar. Called Danielle again and told her about the four meds that had been deleted and some of the concerns in the progress notes. Danielle said she would add this info to the report that going to the head of the department. Danielle seemed to irritated during the second call.

Was getting ready to fire off a a complaint via the IRIS Inquiry system when the acting head of the clinic called. She was far more polished than the other physician and indicated doctors have their different styles and that my meds really weren’t deleted, the pharmacy  just hadn't "released" the medications yet. One of my meds is refrigerated and my spouse returned a call to the pharmacy about the meds today. The pharmacy indicated that many of my meds, indeed.  had been deleted.

So I opted out of care from that CW Bill Young clinic today. This is not an option that everyone has. Fortunately I have a alternative source for pharmacy meds so i don't need the annual clinic visit to recertify those particular meds.

I still have a primary care doctor at the Palm Harbor Outpatient clinic so I can get most generic meds reauthorized there.

For some vets who have specialists and a primary care provider, you will need an annual visit to both the specialist clinic and the primary care clinic to keep you medicine  current, 

If you are a vet, don't let a VA primary care physician, specialist or clinician talk you into tests that reinvent the wheel once you have been awarded a disability. This could result in you disability being downgraded or taken away altogether. Just politely say 'no."

According the the CW Bill Young VARO senior counselor, it was unlikely that the VA would ever try to change my disability. My disability has been rated permanent and total. Have no interest in enabling a redo nor should you.

Sometimes you just have to say, "No." 


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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Conservatives take away options from women, minoroties and the LGBT community

Lawrence Kohlberg's theory of Moral development has been used to explain the difference between liberals and conservatives on several occasions in this blog.


In Charles  Hampden-Turner's early work, Radical Man,  he equated conventional thinking to conservatism and post-conventional thought to liberalism.

In the graphic, the top two layers of the pyramid are the post conventional levels

The next two levels are conventional. This graphic that follows explains this in more detail.

Conventionals also have two levels and the two levels explain why there is infighting among conservatives. The lower functioning Stage 3 conservatives, which are usually associated with groups, have the social relationship perspective of that peer-group. Most Christian conservatives, Rush Limbaugh ditto-heads, Tea Party and libertarians are Stage 3 conservatives.

The Establishment Conservatives are the big picture Stage 4s who are more focused on law and order and defending the nation-state's values.

Stage 3s and 4s are at odds with each other over the size of government and defence spending. For example, most libertarians are anarchist or minarchist and want the smallest possible government. These groups are also sceptical about defence spending and US military adventurism.

Likewise, the militia are anti-government people who think their function is protect other conservatives from the government.

The Stage 4s want to control the government. For example, GW Bush actually increased the size of government by creating the Department of Homeland Security and by increasing defence spending by 47 per cent. This is why Rush Limbaugh is suspicious of Establishment Republicans.

The Stage 5 post-conventionals view government as a social contract that can be changed.

The founders gave us a legislature to draft new laws that meet the circumstances of the day. This is also why we have democratic traditions in the US that allow people to elect new legislators.

A good way to contrast State 4 and Stage 5 was an article in which the conservative author stated the Second Amendment was in concrete.

The Bill of Rights was an afterthought and it was not in the original US Constitution. The Bill of Rights is actually the first 10 amendments to the Constitution.

Besides that the second amendment being poorly written and ambiguous, the Constitution has a rigorous  amendment process that would allow this amendment to be rescinded. The Establishment Clause or the first amendment could also be rescinded. Nothing in the US legal system is really in concrete.

Of course, many conservatives will argue otherwise and erect granite monuments of the 10 Commandments in front of court houses. Even monuments can be broken into pieces or removed. A man recently rammed a controversial 10 Commandments monument in Oklahoma with an automobile. The Devil made him do it.

Conservatives want to limit options for women, minorities and the LGBT people.
If a women marries an conservative, the husband may try to subordinate her to himself as the biblical head of household. A conservative  state government may deny the women the right to an abortion and birth control. If a man is a gay, the state may deny him the right to marry another man.

Minorities may have their right to vote suppressed by cutting back voting periods, locking bathrooms near polls, deleting voting locations in precincts and by sequestering minority voters into certain districts using gerrymanders. US Congressional Districts 13 and 15 are examples of this.
In Florida, if you commit a felony, you lose your right to vote permanently. "In 2007 Florida moved to restore voting rights to convicted felons. In March 2011, however, Republican Governor Rick Scott reversed the 2007 reforms, making Florida the state with the most punitive law in terms of disenfranchising citizens with past felony convictions."



source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felony_disenfranchisement 


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Monday, October 13, 2014

Medicare, Tricare and CHAMPVA.




If you retire from the armed services, you and your dependents are eligible for Tricare medical . The two main flavors are Tricare Standard, that is equivalent to an Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), and Tricare Prime, that is equivalent to a Preferred Provider Option (PPO).

Tricare is similar to Medicare, but it also provides prescription drug coverage. Once you reach age 65, you are eligible for Medicare. Medicare Part A covers hospital care and it is provided automatically. To maintain Tricare, you must accept Medicare part B which covers doctor visits. You are then given Tricare for Life as secondary insurance. Your spouse will continue to be covered by Tricare Prime until he or she reaches age 65. Then the spouse will be covered by Tricare for Life, too assuming Medicare Part B is accepted.

With Medicare as primary insurance and Tricare is secondary, there is no need for Medicare Part C or D that provide prescription dug coverage. Tricare for Life covers prescription drugs.

CHAMPVA is very similar to Tricare. In fact, Tricare was originally called CHAMPUS. To be eligible for CHAMPVA:

  1. the spouse or child of a veteran who has been rated for total and permanent disability due to service-connected disability by the VA (that is, a VA regional office)
  2. the widow/widower or child of a veteran who passed away due to a service-connected disability rated by the VA
  3. the widow/widower or child of a veteran who at the time of death, was rated as permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability
  4. the widow/widower or child of a military man or woman who was killed in the line of duty (but not due to bad conduct– often though these will be TRICARE eligible rather than CHAMPVA)
Notice that dependents must have a sponsor who is (100 per cent) totally and permanently disabled or the sponsor passed away from service-connected disability (less than 100 per cent.).

If a vet never received a service connected disability, the survivors would not eligible for CHAMPVA. Of course, the death must be be related to the specific service-connected (SC) disability the VA has awarded.

Likewise the spouse and children may be eligible for Dependent Indemnity Compensation.(DIC) when a disabled veteran passes. The criteria are similar to those for CHAMPVA eligibility.

If a vet dies while a claim is being adjudicated, the survivors of a pending SC claim must open a new Accrued Claim.

Why would a survivor want to reopen an Accrued Claim? If the death is related to the claimed condition, the survivors may be eligible for both CHAMPVA a medical coverage and DIC. Even if the claimed condition is not related to the cause of death, the survivors could receive disability compensation in the form of lump sum payment.

Accrued benefits are only payable if the VA Form 21-534 was filed within one year after the veteran's death.


Once a dependent reached age 65, CHMAPVA becomes secondary insurance as is the case for Tricare. It is called CHAMPVA for Life.

Thee are also Medicare part C & D. Medicare part D does provide prescription coverage, but this private program will become more expensive in the next 10 years. This is because the program was never properly funded by the Congress and it was being subsidized by Standard Medicare FICA payroll tax receipts.

Obama removed the $10 billion subsidy form Part D and rolled the projected revenues into ACA. Medicare Part C that insurers also sell is similar to Part D.

Any vet who has either Tricare for Life or CHAMPVA as secondary insurance does not need Medicare Part C or D.

You an also purchase Medicare Supplemental or MediGap insurance to cover Medicare co-pays. This may be a better and lower cost option than Medicare Part C and D for people who need secondary insurance.

Your local Social Security office should be able to answer any questions you have on Medicare or Medigap. As a retired armed services person or disabled vet, you may have some extra medical entitlements when you reach age 65.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

The two kinds of Republicans are very different, but both are dangerous

The Republican party has a dichotomy and it is very apparent that the Establishment Republicans and the Tea Party Wing don't get along that well.

When Micheal Steele was the RNC chair, a copy of an RNC presentation was left behind in a room. This graphic is revealing because it shows the GOP was aware of the dichotomy even before he rise of the Tea Party.
The major donors are the Establishments Republicans. Many Americans think of them as the one per cent, but is probably closer to the top 8-10 per cent of American families.

Many of these people are the sons and daughters of wealthy Americans. Both the Bush and Romney families are examples.

Most of the Establishment Republicans have two major goals.

Business should be able to do whatever the hell it wants to do without government interference or regulation. Many of these elitists believe they are on equal footing with the government. This view has been around since the rise of the trusts.

It was Republican Theodore Roosevelt who made it clear that corporations were subordinate to the government and the public good. Teddy broke up the trusts and opened the door to unionization in the US.

The Establishment Republicans also believe in privatization which serves two objectives. First, it expands the private sector and makes it more profitable. Second, it reduces the size of government making regulation even harder.

It's not a coincidence that the GOP cuts the budget of IRS every chance it gets. During the GW Bush administration the budget for Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was cut which curtailed about 50 per cent of safety inspections Some huge mine and refinery disasters followed after years of corporate neglect and no federal safety inspections. 

The other side of the Republican coin can be described as the the true believers. These are the crazies who fear the sky is falling and hold reactionary views. Politicans like Michelle Bachmann, Ted Cruz, Louie Gohmert, Rick Santorum, and Steve King and Blake Fahrenholdt` are good examples. Many are Christo-fascists who are certain the US is a Christan nation.

You can also include Rush Limbaugh's, ditto heads, the Tea Party, libertarians and the militia movement in the true believer wing. At the bottom feeder end, there are the Sovereign Citizen anarchists. The FBI considers the Sovereign Citizens to biggest terroist threat in the US.

Judson Phillips, one of the funders of the Tea Party, wants to return the US to "classic liberalism" ot he late 1700s. Phillips thinks the governors should appoint senators and only people who own propriety should be able to vote.

In colonial times, women and blacks couldn't vote, women could not own property and only about 12-16 per cent of the American population could vote. Property was defined differently in each state. In Massachusetts, a mule would suffice for voting. 

Why are the GOP emotives upset with Establishment Republicans. The Great recession wiped out their 401Ks when they lost their jobs. Many also lost their homes. The Great American Dream was over for them.


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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Where to start in VA disability compensation


First, are you eligible?

A veteran must have two years of active duty under her belt as of a 1981 service entry.

You must have a disability that the VA determines is service-connected on active duty, or was made worse by active military service. You must also have a discharge that the VA determines was under other than dishonorable conditions. For example, you are unlikely to qualify for disability compensation if you have a bad conduct discharge. 
 
The disability compensation conditions are less strict than eligibility for some other benefits such as a VA pension or VA home loans. In both cases, you must have served on active duty during a wartime period such as the Korean War, the Vietnam War or the Gulf Wars.

You have three basic options when you start a claim. You can represent yourself “pro se” or give your Power of Attorney (POA) to a Veterans Service Organization or an attorney. 

Let's look at the pros and cons of each. 

Pro Se

1, You have complete control of your claim. If you have to appeal to the Board of Veteran Appeals (BVA) you get special consideration because you do not have professional representation. You can also ask the BVA for a reconsideration of its ruling, something a veteran service organization or attorney cannot do.

You will be able to go to the VA's Veteran Center that has many experienced counselors who can access most VA claims databases.

In addition, you can usually see the same VA counselor as the claim progresses. The Veterans Center is open 5 -days a week and doesn't close during local or national VA conventions or similar events.

You will have to do all of your own research and file the claim using the On-line VONAPP or the VA paper Form 21-526. You will also have to coordinate the completion of Disability Benefits Questionnaires (DBQ) with your physicians and clinicians to document your claim.

You will have to set up a file system for incoming VA letters and outgoing claims documents. You wail need access the Internet, a PC and a printer, preferably a laser multifunction printer. You will need software that is able to edit postscript document format (PDF) documents such as Adobe Acrobat.

Attorney

An attorney can probably provide the best help up front on a claim. If an attorney takes your case, it is a good sign that your case has merit. The attorneys have paralegals who will help you with paperwork and answer questions by phone. You can expect a higher level of service with an attorney.

Most attorneys will also be able to refer you to doctors who understand the VA's documentation requirements and know how to properly complete a DBQ. The VA Regional Office is likely to take attorney representation more seriously than a claim that is represented pro se or by a veterans organization.

The attorney will receive 20 per cent of any retroactive pay that you receive. However, this does not apply to monthly compensation.in contrast, other private practice attorneys take about 1/3 of a settlement plus administrative costs.

Most veteran attorneys do not provide this services to become wealthy Most have been veterans and understand the need for these legal services to vets.

Veteran Service Organizations

Last but not least are the service organizations such as the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the American Veterans (AMVETS). There are many others. Most of the states also have state level veteran service officers(VSO).

These veteran organizations usually require POA. However, this does not restrict you from talking to the counselors in the Veteran Center, On the other hand, an attorney will probably want all conservations and documentation to go through the attorney's office.

The exception of the state service organization who usually will not ask for POA. Have found most service organizations to be the least effective way to staff a claim. Many of these offices have limited hours and may be open only 4-days a week. During a VA conventions the entire office may close. One office rotated its VSOs every 90-days and a vet could have 20 different VSOs or more during the life cycle of a claim.

Service organizations are unlikely to help you write or review claim documentation. Service orgs will represent you during a local BVA hearing, but many VSOs lack legal training. This is true in FL. However, in NY a VSO must have legal training.

The state VSOs are a different animal. Many will help you without requiring POA.Most are unlikely to represent you during a BVA hearing.

So, if you are representing yourself pro se, you can still get advice from both counselors in the vet center and from state level VSOs. In the case of the writer, this situation worked best, but it is not for everyone.

Is Pro Se is for me?

Fist of all can you or your significant other write well? Can you distinguish facts from opinion? How good is your grammar and reading comprehension? 

The BVA has strict rules on evidence. The BVA will throw out any opinion other than expert that you try to present as fact. 

Try some of these tests before you dive into pro se.  Check out the following grammar and reading comprehension tests and your ability to distinguish fact from opinion.



If you are having difficulty with these tests, suggest you engage and attorney. Regardless of whether you start the claim with an attorney, you will probably eventually need one if you appeal to the BVA, which provides legal administrative hearings.

sources:

http://vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp/main.asp

VA Form 21-526

http://www.grammar-monster.com/free_grammar_tests.html

http://www.ereadingworksheets.com/free-reading-worksheets/fact-and-opinion-worksheets/


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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What you can do to secure your home network



1. Don't use Microsoft Windows. It has holes engineered into it paid for by NSA. Hackers will find some of these holes. Linux Mint 17 is a better operating system (OS)than Windows. It is free and more secure. You can download it from the Internet or buy a Linux magazine that includes a Mint DVD. You can install it and update it in less than on hour Try that with MS Windows.

2. Purchase a router with DD_WRT or Tomato firmware installed. It provides better security than the home router you can get at a computer store. It is also possible your existing router can be upgraded with either Tomato or DD-WRT firmware.

3. Configure your browser so it doesn't remember any history, There are also some great security browser extensions like Ghostery and No Script. Use the Duck, Duck, Go search engine because this search engine uses secure SSL security. Your Internet searches are not archived either.

4. By all means install anti-virus software on you PC before you connect to the Internet. If you are using Linux, ClamAV can be downloaded using the internal Synaptic Package Manager. Avast AV has to be downloaded from the AVAST website and you need to request a free registration key by email. Then run a virus scan on your home directory and then the complete OS.

5. Install a uninterpretable power supply to protect your PC, cable modem and router form surges, spikes, brownouts and drops. This upgrade can extend the life of your router, cable modem and PC or laptop for years.

6. If you are using wireless, use a 12-14 digit password and change it at least quarterly.
Hardinfo Ip connections display

7. In Linux, use Hardinfo IP connections check your security. You should not have any established connections to the Internet when your browser is closed. In this example the browser is connected to the Internet and I have two established connections. If you have any established connections with public IP addressees when the browser is closed, you probably have a Trojan or some other malware that is lurking in your PC.

8. Linux Mint has the IP tables firewall and you can use the GUFW front end to modify the firewall. You do need a basic understanding o IP addressing and ports to use this firewall. Likewise, the ClamAV anti-virus program has the Clam TK front end graphical user interface.

9.You can use Keypass to store passwords on your desktop or Lastpass extension in your browser. This will allow you to have many unique passwords for email, bank accounts and online retailers.

There are many other things you can do to improve security in your home networks. These are just some basics.

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Conservative Historical Myths




There are many conservative myths and they start at the Revolutionary War.


Pseudo-historians like Newt Gingrich will suggest the Revolutionary War was a conservative revolution and Americans should return to those days of yesteryear to recapture our spirit The founders were 10 feet tall and they wrote the Constitution in stone just like the 10 commandments.

 
First, the US revolution was a liberal revolution as was the French. The purpose of the revolution was to throw of the shackles of monarchy and replace it with a democratic republic. The early US democracy is hardly like the one we have today. Women and blacks could not vote and women could not own property.

 
Some Tories were tared and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail. 

However, there were conservatives who were sympathetic to the crown and most emigrated to Canada. At that time conservatives were called Tories.



The US Constitution contains the manner in which our government was structured and some legal principals, most of which are in the Bill of Rights. A house, a senate and judiciary were created so that laws could be written, interpreted and executed. The strict constructionist or originalist theory of the US Constitution has no basis in fact. We would not need a legislative branch, an executive branch and a judiciary if everything was in stone.



Conservatives say the US is a Christian nation, but the First amendment makes it clear he US was established as a secular nation. Want more proof? Read the Treaty of Tripoli signed by John Adams and passed by unanimous voice vote in the US senate. The founders were aware of the religious wars in Europe and didn't want that mistake repeated in the US.



The next conservative myth is that the Civil War was about state rights. Jefferson Davis never talked about state rights until after the Civil war. The Civil War had a lot to do with slavery, but not as most Americans imagine it. Lincoln never talked about abolishing slavery when he first ran for president.



In the mid-19th century, the power of the Southern states were declining as new territories were incorporated into the US. The big concern of Southern representatives and senators was that slavery was not being expanded into the new states.



The Southern economic system was predicated upon slavery. The vice president of the Confederacy, Alexander Stephens said this in his Cornerstone speech in 1861



"Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition."



Southern plantation owners did not want slavery abolished or contained because it was immensely profitable.



The next big myth is that the US never lost a war. Most historians will admit that the US lost the war of 1812, but our history books often gloss over the fact. The last war the US won was World War 2. The Korean War was a stalemate and the US performed a strategic withdrawal in Vietnam. We also occupied Iraq, but eventually withdrew.



Is it possible to have a military victory in a 10 year occupation? One Marine general thinks so.



Conservatives also like to gloss over the Great Depression. The only Democratic president who was elected in the period between 1900 and the start of the Great Depression was Woodrow Wilson. Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover all served prior to the Great Depression and all were Republican.



Segue to 2008 and another Republican, GW Bush heralded another economic meltdown. Bush's Ownership Society and deregulation of the 5 major investment banks led the US into to the Great Recession. The GOP myth is that the great recession was caused by Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac. Both organization worsened the economic situation in the great Recession, but neither organization caused it.



Another great conservative myth is supply side economics which has been around since the 1890s when it was called “horse and sparrow.”



The idea is that you give the affluent more society so the wealthy  can redistribute it to the middle class. Supply side economics also implies taxes should be cut for the affluent. 

Does anyone really know what the affluent do with their tax cuts? Suspect a lot of the cash ends up in the Cayman Islands or Switzerland.



In the early 80s, the influential and multi-partisan American Economics Association had 18,000 members. Only 12 called themselves supply-side economists in American universities, There is no major department that could be called "supply-side," and there is no supply-side economist at any major department.



This is significant, because academia in the 70s was dominated by conservative economic theory, and conservative economists normally welcome any ideas that make the case against government intervention. The fact that they scrutinized supply-side theory and rejected it wholesales gives eloquent testimony to the theory's bankruptcy.



When candidate George Bush called it “voodoo economics” in the 1980 presidential campaign, he was doing so with the full backing of America's economic community.



Today the conservatives are suggesting that America needs more tax cuts, privatization and deregulation, three things that failed during the GW bush presidency.



Rarely do Republicans offer any reputable proof that their theories about taxes, privatization or deregulation work. The best the GOP can do is provide highly partisan studies from the American Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute and Heritage.org. 



When you are a political party that I more faith-based than fact-based, ideology is more import that hard facts.



A good example occurred in FL. Without any factual basis, the FL legislature bought Gov. Rick Scott's assumption that people applying for welfare had a drug problem. People applying for welfare were forced to take drug tests at their own expense. The courts threw the law out when it was discovered that few welfare applicants had failed the drug test.



A similar law was recently passed in TN. Only ½ per cent of the welfare applicants failed the drug test there. It is hard to teach a conservative dog new tricks.



Why do Americans continue to elect legislators who are irrational because of their half-baked ideology? Most of these people cannot be confused with facts. 


Some even think that biblical values are more important than US constitutional values. Others think the US Constitution is based upon the bible. America needs to get these misfits like these of politics.



That would be people like Reps. Steven King, Blake Fahrenholt, Louie Gohmert and Michelle Bachmann. Bachman is retiring, hopefully for good.





Sources:



http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/23More.htm


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