Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Right Man for Healing and a Rare Find

Hippocrates of the Hippocratic Oath
I was not sure my ENT specialist was a good fit for me even though I read the glowing praises framed on his office walls, praises coming from his patients, colleagues, and other doctors. The young man seemed to know what he was doing but his bedside manner was brief and rather cold.

I attributed his demeanor to his introverted personality, his professionalism, and to his respect for his patients’ time. Very punctual, he very seldom made anybody wait to see him, he was always on time.

One day I realized that he was much more caring on the inside than he let people see. A young woman with her mom and a three-year old in tow had an appointment to see the doctor. The receptionist, Lupe, asked her if she was prepared to pay for that day’s visit. The young woman had a grief-stricken look on her face and wondered how much the visit was going to be. The receptionist told her that she did not know because each patient was different, depending on the problem. The prospective patient replied in a sad and disappointed voice that she will reschedule until such a time that she would have enough cash on hand to pay for the visit.

Lupe kindly explained that her insurance, Obamacare, had a huge deductible, and unless she met this deductible for the year, it will not pay the doctor anything. She offered to ask the physician, left the young woman waiting, and returned to tell her that the good doctor will see her anyway.

I decided then that this man was the right person to see in an ENT medical emergency or a problem requiring a caring specialist. His humanity, in addition to his medical professionalism, punctuality, and his education in the U.S., made him, in my opinion, an exceptional doctor, a rare find.

At the other end of the spectrum was the endocrinologist’s office in Fairfax who told me, they are no longer taking any new Medicare patients, just the already established ones who were in transition to Medicare. The receptionist’s explanation was that Medicare does not allow their patients to be seen every three to six months as needed.

I was told previously by a doctor friend that Medicare made low and very slow reimbursements to physicians because of Obamacare; therefore I did not believe the office’s explanation. Personally, I would not want to be seen by a doctor who put her profit motive above the care for a patient, any patient.

But I pressed on. What if I paid in cash, could I then see the doctor? The answer was again no because, she said, they had a contract with Medicare and thus could not accept cash payment.

Having read the pertinent section of the law, I knew this was part of the Affordable Care Act as well, the euphemistically named piece of legislation Obama’s administration and Nancy Pelosi’s Congress forced down middle class America in the middle of the night, “pass the bill to find out what’s in it.”

We did find out all right, and we did not like the price we had to pay for it in order that the Democrat Party could unilaterally force an entire nation, one fifth of the economy, to become a socialized medicine nightmare for decades to come.

More insultingly, members of Congress have their own subsidized and separate health care insurance and can see whatever doctors they wish to see.

It used to be the case in America once when patients could pay cash for doctors’ visits and the fees were affordable. But that gradually changed thanks to modifications in health insurance, new cafeteria health insurance plans, in-network and out-of-network type of employer insurance, and health savings accounts that disappeared at the end of the year if unused.

If you lost your job or quit, the insurance terminated, and you were at the mercy of Cobra insurance for a while, at confiscatory monthly premiums, but nothing as expensive as Obamacare premiums today that can easily exceed a family’s mortgage and car payments combined.

Lack of insurance portability across state lines had always been a problem for Americans seeking affordable insurance. Aggressive law suits against doctors and medical malpractice awards by the courts, forced doctors to drastically buy more and more expensive malpractice insurance, making care more expensive for the average patient who did have insurance. The infamous $50 aspirin in a hospital setting was legendary.

As a student without insurance in the early 1980s, I paid $10 cash per visit to my children’s pediatrician. Once we could afford and bought insurance, each visit was $85. The pediatrician made a comfortable living, had a thriving practice, but he was certainly not a millionaire.

If you ask most doctors today what they spend a good portion of resources and time, it is not patient face to face care time but electronic documentation, record keeping, and staff to handle insurance justifications and payments – bureaucracy.

Primary medical care, day-to-day healthcare, is now provided by a general practitioner, a family physician, a gerontology, pediatric, or family nurse practitioner, a physician assistant, a registered nurse, and even a pharmacist who coordinate and triage specialist care that a patient may need.

Secondary and tertiary care is harder to find as physicians are cutting their losses and focusing on accepting private insurance rather than Medicare and Medicaid.

We are headed to a single payer socialized medical insurance which will limit doctor visits and access to procedures based on rationed care. The entity that will hold the key to your ability to pay for and receive medical care when you need it will be the federal government, the same bloated, out of control entity that spent your Social Security lock-box savings and has doubled the national debt in eight years of the Obama’s administration.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

How Free Are You?

Woodcut - "The Ship of Fools"
What happens if you live off-grid?

If you live independent of utilities, water, and sewer, and provide your own energy through solar panels, have your own sewer system, and use rainwater, you may run into problems with your local government. Robin Speroni of Cape Coral, Florida, was sued by local officials that her off-grid home was illegal, citing the International Property Maintenance Code. She was found guilty of not being hooked to the water supply.

“Speroni is still being hassled by the municipality of Cape Coral for not having a connection to city water or property sewage. This is in spite of the fact that the city capped her sewers themselves.”http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/03/09/florida-makes-off-grid-living-illegal-mandates-all-homes-must-be-connected-to-an-electricity-grid/

What happens if you don’t send your kids to public school?

It is certainly against the law not to send your children to school and charges vary from state to state. You may lose public assistance such as food stamps. According to the U.S. Department of Education in some states you may have to go to jail. If you home-school, you have to follow laws specifically designed for home-schoolers. https://howtoadult.com/consequences-not-sending-kids-school-13544.html

What happens if you want to worship in a church that is not sanctioned as a church but deemed a cult?

To answer this question you must study both sides of what happened to the people at Ruby Ridge and Waco.  Here is a link for the liberal version of the fiery events that resulted in the deaths of many people, especially innocent children. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/oregon-standoff-fbi-negotiator_us_568a956ee4b014efe0daf42c

What happens if you don’t have a driver’s license?

Driving without a license is considered a crime in all 50 states. You have a right to travel but you cannot operate a vehicle without a license. If you are an illegal alien, the law is much laxer, as the law breaker will get a slap on the wrist and will be released back into the streets to repeat his/her behavior.

What happens if you jay walk?

Jaywalking is an infraction that requires in some states a fine but a misdemeanor with a court appearance in other states. Penalties vary by state and by municipalities. Fines range from $1 to $1,000.

What happens if you refuse to have your child vaccinated?

In most states, vaccines are required for your child to enter day care, schools, and universities. Laws vary from state to state.

What happens if you refuse to be molested by the TSA in an airport?

It is obvious that you cannot fly and you will be promptly escorted out of the airport by TSA agents. If you are belligerent and vocal in your refusal, you will be arrested in most states.

What happens if you disagree politically with a group?

You will be shunned, may lose your job, you will become a pariah, you will be tracked and possibly beaten by the opposition, your home and property, including your car, will be vandalized, and you will be forbidden from expressing your divergent opinion on an American campus. Those opposing you will resort to violence and fascistic means in order to prevent you from being on their campus to express your opinion guaranteed by our Constitution because your opinion hurts the feelings of campus snowflakes and they will label your views as “hate speech,” in essence cutting off your freedom of speech.

What happens if you go to college and dare to express your conservative or divergent opinions from those of the teachers and the majority of snowflakes?

Your teachers will prevent you from speaking in class, you will be ridiculed, marginalized, and possibly given a lower grade in class than you actually earned. You will be relegated to a designated corner on campus where you might be able to express your opinion without being physically assaulted and verbally insulted.

What happens if you protect your property and shoot an intruder?

It depends on the state. The intruders have been known to hire eager attorneys who successfully prosecuted those protecting their homes, resulting in the loss of their homes and land which is awarded to the intruder and his family and even jail time for those who engaged in self-defense.

What happens if illegal aliens try to steal from you and you shoot them?

The most recent case in Kansas City, Missouri, involves David Jungerman, a business owner who shot a home intruder in the leg. A 39-year old attorney, Tom Pickert, who represented the home invader and won millions of dollars in a civil lawsuit against Jungerman, was shot and killed in his front yard. http://heavy.com/news/2017/10/david-jungerman-kansas-city-trump-raytown/

What happens if you express your opinion that illegal immigration is illegal and should be stopped by building a wall?

At best you are considered a conspiracy theorist nut-job and heartless who does not understand that America was built by such illegal immigrants; at worst you are a xenophobe and racist. Irrational globalists will hide the fact that America was built by LEGAL immigrants who were vetted for their health in quarantine at Ellis Island and, who did not come to America for the welfare system because the welfare system did not exist at the time.

What happens if you criticize the theocracy of Islam, Sharia Law, and genital mutilation?

You will be publicly humiliated, accused of Islamo-phobia, and marginalized, your home and property vandalized, threatened with lawsuits, become a potential victim of a fatwa, and possibly fired from your job.

What happens if you try to home-school your children in certain states?

You must jump through incredible hoops in order to be allowed to home-school your child.

What happens if you object to your children being subjected to the Islamic curriculum indoctrination of Common Core?

You are ignored, you are banned from any school property or meetings, you are told that it is required by the Common Core Curricula, and security will be called to prevent you from entering the school building. You will not be allowed to attend or speak at public school board meetings. The principal and the teacher(s) in question will not answer your calls or letters.

What happens if you object, as a parent, to the teaching of your children in kindergarten and elementary schools about sexual perversions?

Your opinions and wishes will be overridden by the school, the principal, and the teacher. The curriculum will be taught as planned with or without your knowledge.

What happens if you object to mentally-ill grown men or boys, pretending they are women, use the restrooms and lockers that your little girls use?

You will be labeled a homophobe who does not respect their freedom of expressing who they are inside their heads. The fact that your child is in danger of molestation and rape does not matter. They have rights that supersede your rights or your children’s rights.

What happens if you object to the Common Core curricula and do not wish that your Christian children be indoctrinated into the Five Pillars of Islam?

Your child will still be made to wear hijab in order to feel what a Muslim feels like and they will attend a mosque despite your protests. They will be made to recite by heart the Five Pillars of Islam, and to pray in the mosque, thus indoctrinating them into Islam.

What happens if you refuse to bake a cake for a gay couple because of your religious beliefs?

You will pay huge fines, lose your business, your savings, and possibly serve time in jail for protecting your religious beliefs. http://www.gospelherald.com/articles/54265/20150205/christian-bakers-lose-business-face-150-000-fine-for-refusing-to-bake-same-sex-marriage-cake.htm

What happens if you refuse to pay taxes?

You will pay confiscatory fines, have property seized, and possibly go to jail.

What happens if you protest the takeover of your property via eminent domain or the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) shows up with agents to confiscate your land that has been in your family for generations?

You will lose your land and home. Cliven Bundy protected his ranch and grazing rights. Following a 21-year legal dispute between the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Cliven Bundy, for allegedly “failing to pay over $1 million in withheld grazing fees for Bundy’s use of federally owned land adjacent to Bundy’s ranch in southeastern Nevada,” an armed confrontation between supporters of the cattle rancher and law enforcement ensued in 2014. LaVoy Finicum was shot and killed in Oregon in 2016.  http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/18/politics/nevada-bundy-ranch-land-rights/index.html

What happens if you try to collect rain water or snowmelt on your property?

Gary Harrington from Oregon served 30-days in jail for nine misdemeanors and paid a fine of $1,500 for diverting snow runoff and rainwater into three reservoirs on his property, thus violating “an antiquated law governing personal water use.” https://www.naturalnews.com/046359_oregon_rainwater_collection_big_governemnt.html

What happens if you don’t pay HOA fees?

HOA will take you to court and eventually may foreclose on your home and sell it in order to pay overdue fees, depending on the state in which you reside. HOAs retain attorneys for such offenders. http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-associations-20141109-story.html

What happens if you try to fly the American flag and Muslim or hard-core liberal neighbors who hate America object?

You will be ordered to take it down, fined, and possibly told to move if you are renting the property. Crosses have been removed from churches and monuments in order to appease Muslims and atheists. Statues have been torn down to appease the racist BLM who were offended by the alleged racist intent of the monument. Large crosses that have been part of a landscape for decades, honoring the fallen or our Christianity, have been ordered removed by the courts in order to satisfy atheists.

What happens if your favorite NFL team players kneel during the National Anthem for the alleged “social injustices” and “deliberate police racism” against blacks, while insulting the veterans present?

The middle class white men will stop buying tickets and attending NFL games, buying jerseys and other football memorabilia, giving the owners and the overpaid players a clear message that their faux political antics do not have a place on a stadium where they are paid to entertain the public with a game, not give the public their two cents of misinformed opinions. Americans still have the power of the purse. You have the freedom to protest in a very public venue but expect consequences of your insulting behavior.

What happens when Hollywood bash conservatives? What happens when slutty starlets pretend to be paragons of virtue, lecturing the rest of us, and claim to be the ultimate source of knowledge because they played a role in a movie?

Americans still have the power to stop buying tickets to their movies and concerts. Boycotts work quite nicely as many actors learned this summer when their movies tanked at the box office. You may fancy yourselves political gurus and know-it-all, but, at the end of the day, you are just script memorizers who act in a movie. You dropped out of high school because you did not have academic ability; you had talent to act in a movie and to impersonate a certain character.

What happens when academia and public schools turn your children into hard-core socialists/fascists who hate their country while you think they are getting an education?

The results are evident in the millennial generation joining ANTIFA, an organization run by communist anarchists who employ fascistic violence to protest those whose divergent opinions they want to squash yet they call them fascists and their organization anti-fascism when in reality they are the violent fascists.

The results are also evident in the brainwashing of several lost generations of American voters who believe that the communist Democrats are the “real” Americans, U.S. should be socialist/communist, and everything that made this country the success that is today must be destroyed. They spit, defecate on, and burn the American flag, demand the abolition of the National Anthem, of the Star-Spangled Banner, the replacing of the Constitution with their own Marxist version, and the Bill of Rights with the Socialist Bill of Rights.

What happens if you try to plant a bush or cut down a tree next to a rain puddle and environmental NGOs show up with paperwork telling you that you are not allowed to do so?

Martha Boneta can tell you volumes about her farm and the NGO’s interdictions that plagued her ownership rights in the rolling, gentrified hills of northern Virginia. http://www.conservativehq.com/article/14081-fitzgibbons-recounts-harassment-martha-boneta

Obama has promised that, if Obamacare was passed, you can keep your doctor and the insurance premiums would go down.

How many of you were actually able to keep your doctors and how many were unable to see doctors and specialists because they no longer accept Medicare patients due to low and slow reimbursement rates? Why would that be? Because the Obama administration robbed billions from Medicare in order to fund his socialized medicine jewel, Obamacare. And millions of Americans who previously had other forms of affordable medical insurance now cannot afford the high premiums and deductibles driven by Obamacare’s regulations. In essence, Obamacare insurance and regulations have destroyed middle class Americans' formerly stellar medical care and sky-rocketed their previously affordable insurance premiums.

As an American, can you cross the border without a passport?

International banks and the Federal Reserve which is neither federal nor a reserve control your money supply, interest rates, and gold reserves.

And there are many other freedoms that you think you still have but they are highly restricted or no longer exist except in theory.

Do you still think you are free?

 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veterans Day 2017

(Written by my FB friend, Joe Keller, and posted with his permission)
 
Even though I am a vet myself, I have always assumed the work of veterans was appreciated by all Americans who live under the flag and enjoy the freedoms the veterans put their lives on the line to protect.  While it is nice to be recognized, being a vet is simply part of being an American who loves his country.

One of the reasons it always felt good to be a vet was to see sporting events, with their massive crowds, playing the Star Spangled Banner.  Out of respect to the flag, and all of the great things our country represents, everyone would rise to the National Anthem, face the flag and place their hand over their hearts, as a singer would try to reach all the notes of that dastardly song.  Whether they hit all the notes or not, when the song ended, an uproar from the crowd would erupt.

For this veteran, that was all the appreciation I ever needed.  It was an appreciation that was a tradition, but one I never took for granted.

And then along came a puny, insignificant little man with a cause. 

I despise puny,  insignificant people with causes.

In 2011, if memory serves correct, I got an email from a friend who asked for prayers for her nephew.  He had been hit by an IED in Iraq and suffered burns over 80% of his body.  He was on his way to the States for treatment.

I prayed. 

I thought about the “life” this boy was going to have.  I know the insufferable pain he was going to have to live with for the rest of his life.  His raw nerves exposed, everything was agonizing pain.  To get washed, to feel the sheets drop against his burned skin, even a gentle breeze would bring the most excruciating of pain.  I could see years of skin grafts he would need to endure.  After years and years of pain, it might subside.  He would still have a family that loved him but any semblance of a normal life was gone. 

He had sacrificed his life without dying. 

I cried.

Moments later I turned on the television and there was a puny, insignificant woman with a cause testifying before Congress.  She came from a wealthy family and went to an extremely expensive university in Washington, D.C.  She felt that no woman in her dormitory should have to pay for birth control.  That was her cause…birth control should be free to college women.   She was applauded and praised by the media as if she was the Second Coming.

I compared the bravery of my friend’s nephew and all of those soldiers and veterans who had died, suffered and served with this pathetic, sniveling excuse of an American woman whining on TV and being made a media hero all across the country.

And, I cried for hours.

Was this what my friend’s nephew sacrificed his life for? 

Over the space of a few minutes.  I had seen the best and the bravest this country had to offer in pain and ruins, to the attention of nobody.  And, I had seen the worst this country had to offer, someone who didn’t care about anything but her cause and self-importance.  A “giver” would live a life of pain and suffering.  The “taker” would get her law degree and champion other insignificant and selfish causes like her own.  She would no doubt become even more wealthy in the process. She risked nothing.  She showed no courage.  Self-importance is not courage.  Yet, to a misguided media she was the hero.

The juxtaposition of the two at almost the same moment caused me so much pain.  I knew he would leave the family emotionally and financially drained with years of care and support.

The thought crossed my mind was this a country even worth fighting for anymore?  Would I let my own son serve this kind of country?

And then this puny and insignificant man did one of the most horrible things a person could do to a veteran.  He sat down at the National Anthem at a football game, for a cause he must think rises in importance over all our nation stands for. 

Then he kneeled. 

Thick-headed members of the media painted this blockhead as courageous and his cause more important than the country.  This man wouldn’t know courage if it slapped him in the face.  Veterans know courage.  But, with the media leading the way, other players began to follow him kneeling in complete disrespect to our country and all the veterans who ever served to keep our flag flying.  With coaches all the way down to Pop Warner football teaching children that disrespect of the flag was acceptable, disrespect was becoming institutionalized.

And, the tears began to flow again. 

As much as I have loved the game of football for the past 55 years, to ease the pain, I have had to turn the games off.  Until the players who are participating in this assault against our flag and country realize their cause has hurt more people than it will ever help, the games will remain off.  Until they understand our country and veterans are worth spending one minute a week in reverent respect, their cause won’t get one iota of attention from me and, I hope, you.

The only way to appeal to the patriotism of these misguided players, with their causes, is to turn off the game and not attend at the stadiums.  The players shouldn’t have to be told to stand at attention.  When they see the response of all those who are offended by their actions, those whom they have hurt, I believe they will know to do the right thing.  Their cause is going nowhere until they do.  The future of the NFL is at stake if they don’t.

This Veteran’s Day weekend, out of respect to all veterans, please turn off NFL games.  Please do not go to games, even if you have tickets.  You can make a significant impact in just one week.  Those tickets you hold, you can look at in the future as a collector’s item as the day when you stood up for America and made a difference.

I feel like a puny person with a cause myself, but my cause is America itself.  It is worth fighting for. 

That is why I am a vet.

 
 

 

 

 

  

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Tyranny of the Oppressed and of Minorities

"We condemn freedom of speech that hurts other people’s feelings” – student poster photographed at a rally in California

Half of the U.S. population believes that it is a good idea and high time that our country became socialist, on the way to communism. We are told ad nauseam by the highly organized Marxist left that the other communist countries that failed so miserably, oppressed their own people, and killed millions of them, failed because they did not do it the right way. What this “right way” is, nobody really understands or can even attempt to explain. But they repeat it because it sounds right and progressively utopian.

They have carefully listened day and night to the propaganda coming from the labor unions, teacher unions, the academia indoctrinating college students, public school indoctrinating mills, Hollywood movies and immoral starlets who make millions and pretend to be paragons of virtue and knowledge, the main stream media indoctrination, the socialist Democrat Party and its race-baiting members, and NFL players who make millions while pretending to fight for social justice, code word for communism.

It will be interesting to see moronic football players lose their millions and lavish lifestyles while adhering to the communist-dictated equal pay across the board, regardless of effort, talent, training, skill, or education. Living in a two-bedroom apartment made of cinder blocks, without an expensive car and a huge bank account should teach them humility at the barrel of a gun held by the agents of daddy omnipotent government they so desire.

But none are as destructive to our society as the Democrat script readers of the main stream media, pretending to be journalists, graduates of the indoctrinating mills in our many colleges and universities around the country. The pretend-journalists continue the communist indoctrination that started in kindergarten, elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools in every state many decades ago.

The communist tree planted in this country is finally bearing fruit and these fruits are toxic and poisonous to our Constitutional Republic. These rotten fruits want to destroy and replace our Constitution, socially-engineer our demographics, black or white, by allowing any enemy into our country through open borders, and fundamentally changing our society by fascistic means.

I described in my book, Echoes of Communism, what life was like living under communism for twenty years. I have not made any converts though, even among my high school and college students; on the contrary, ever more young people think that how Scandinavian people live is the best – socialism for all.  After all, aren’t they supposed to be the happiest people on earth? I was told this recently by a na├»ve young lady with bright blue eyes. I asked her if that is true, how come Sweden pays such confiscatory taxes and has been taken over by Islam and has become the rape capital of the world? How is that happiness?

The indoctrination of political correctness (PC), her forfeiture of freedom of speech did not seem to ring a bell that she has lost the freedoms we are so proud of in America when we no longer can express a divergent opinion anywhere without being labeled racists, homophobes, Islamophobias, shunned, lose our jobs, pay fines, and even go to jail.

Political Correctness originated as a joke in a comic strip but it has devolved into Cultural Marxism.  Bill Lind correctly identified Political Correctness and Classical Marxism as totalitarian ideologies. He said,

“The totalitarian nature of Political Correctness is revealed nowhere more clearly than on college campuses, many of which at this point are small ivy covered North Koreas, where the student or faculty member who dares to cross any of the lines set up by the gender feminist or the homosexual-rights activists, or the local black or Hispanic group, or any of the other sainted ‘victims’ groups that PC revolves around, quickly find themselves in judicial trouble.” https://www.academia.org/the-origins-of-political-correctness/

The tyranny of the virtuous and imagined “oppressed” and of minorities has transformed our country into a basket of totalitarian control through fascist and communist methods.

It is no coincidence that PC (Cultural Marxism) uses powerful tools to indoctrinate such as revisionist history, pop culture, environmentalism, and sex. They have been used before by Marxists during the communist revolution of 100 years ago.

During my years of teaching, we made fun of political correctness – nobody took it really serious but people knew how to disguise certain ideas or lest they’d never get promoted, get tenure, better offices, or cushy conference circuits.

PC has become today an ideology that is guarded in the halls of academia and enforced in many cases by the power of the state. We now have “hate crimes” with jail sentences which are nothing but punishing people for their political views and thoughts. The prisoners during WWII used to sing a song that is no longer true today, Die Gedanken sind frei (Thoughts are free), meaning that they can imprison your body but not your thoughts. Well, they are imprisoning people’s bodies for their thoughts today.

Conservative students and faculty are terrorized on campuses for their thoughts if they diverge from the approved campus Political Correctness. This happened in communist Russia, fascist Germany, communist China, and fascist Italy and it is still happening in Cuba and North Korea.

PC is destroying our culture and our freedoms, bringing down our tolerant Western culture and capitalism. The idea that wealthy billionaire athletes are kneeling for social justice in a country with the highest standard of living in the world and anarchists in the streets and in academia are shaming Caucasians for their imagined “white privilege,” is appalling.

College professors naming white families and their children and the laws of inheritance as a root cause in perpetuating white supremacy in tolerant America is an unbelievable farcical development that nobody seems willing to address.

We have become a lawless, irrational society ruled by a mob of tyrant collegiate snowflakes, aggressive professors, activist judges, the non-existent “oppressed” and tyrannical minorities who are not satisfied with tolerance, diversity, and Affirmative Action.

Communists groomed by the teachers’ and labor unions are exalting the Soviet Union as the role model of the first socialist state, with no unemployment, no illiteracy, free education from kindergarten to college, free medical care, and living in peace with one hundred different nationalities. These are lies on all fronts but most Americans, who did not pay much attention to factual history or stayed awake in a history class, would never know the truth if it slapped them in the face.

None of the countries where socialism/communism existed had full employment - people pretended to work and the state pretended to pay them. Everybody had a right to a job but the job was not worth having and it did not pay much. People were abused on the job and often killed when they were sent to do dangerous jobs without any protective gear.

Most people could read but were not able to advance to higher education; the number of places in college were limited and reserved for the elites and their children. The rest, if lucky, went to technical middle schools and high schools.

Medical care was appalling and millions died of simple surgical procedures and treatable conditions, died on the operating table, or from lack of simple drugs or vitamins due to chronic shortages. Insufficiently educated communist apparatchiks were not particularly adept at planning centralized economies even five years ahead.

The proletariat and multiple ethnicities lived in peace because the very powerful police and secret police kept an armed iron fist on all citizens, watched them 24/7 and threw them in gulags at the earliest sign of dissention or misbehavior. The police state was very adept at keeping peace through murder and hard prison time.

Individualism and the desire to succeed and invent were squashed while group-think was demanded for the collective good.

The communists and anarchists in this country make promises and set goals they cannot possibly deliver. Overcoming alleged racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia through state laws is not freedom, it is tyranny. The Communist Party USA wants to replace our Bill of Rights with a “Bill of Rights Socialism.”

Just because we are a seemingly wealthy country today with a robust GDP and still have a powerful military, will not guarantee that our foray into totalitarian socialism will be successful. It will be just another form of tyranny that appeared good in speeches and on paper.  The U.S. will not be different than any other country that has tried socialism/communism.  Additionally, America is in debt up to its collective eye-balls, $20 trillion and counting, because Congress cannot stop spending us into unpayable national debt. Even if we confiscate all the wealth ever created in this country, it will only last a mere month at the current rate of spending. And then, what will we do?

Anarchist community organizers and communist labor union leaders do not mention that the wealth that has been created in this country and the powerful military have been bought and paid for by successful capitalism, not communism or socialism. If you look at the Fabian socialist economies of Europe, their governments are bankrupt despite high taxes, and have little military to defend them and not enough police to protect citizens from the enemies within.

America under totalitarian socialism/communism will not be a society of free individuals; it will be a society akin to the college campuses where any dissention and divergent opinion will be silenced through violence and oppression using fascistic tactics.

Communism has never worked and will never work because individuals are not altruistic enough to give up all their work and their free time in the service and enslavement to other individuals who are lazy and unmotivated to work or to contribute their fair and equal share. Communism breeds a welfare- dependent society that looks up to the omnipotent government to care for them from cradle to grave. That is not freedom.

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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Thomas Edison and Henry Ford’s Estates in Fort Myers, Florida (Part II)


Henry Ford's The Mangoes in  Fort Myers, Florida
Photo: Ileana Johnson 2017
Thomas Edison and Henry Ford met in 1896 at a convention when Ford was working as chief engineer at the Detroit Edison Illuminating Company. “Sixteen years later the two men would meet again to discuss using Edison’s storage battery for the Model T.”

Edison invited Ford and his family to go camping in the Everglades in 1914; it was the first time Ford visited Fort Myers. He was so enchanted with the area that he purchased three acres of riverfront property adjacent to his friend’s estate and a Craftsman-style bungalow, The Mangoes, for $20,000, which he sold in 1945 for the same price.

River view from Ford's porch
Photo: Ileana Johnson 2017
 
The two industrialist friends spent many winters exploring Florida, relaxing, bird watching (one of Clara and Henry’s favorite activities), fishing, and planning business strategies, new inventions, and innovations. Their lengthy discussions and planning yielded products and innovations that would change the world.

The Mangoes living room
Photo: Ileana Johnson
 
Few know for example that the Ford Motor Company sold soybean flour among other products. Henry Ford created a suit and an entire car body using experimental soybean products.  Ford had built in 1930 an experimental soybean lab in Dearborn, Michigan.  

Statue of Henry Ford at the edge of his estate
Photo: Ileana Johnson 2017
 
According to the museum archives, by 1936 Ford had tested 300 varieties of soybeans on 8,000 acres of farmland for industrial uses, spending $1.2 million in the process. “Ford manufactured soybean-based paints, lubricants, and plastics such as gear shift knobs, horn buttons and door handles.” In 1940 Ford created a soybean car.

Kitchen at the Mangoes
Photo: Ileana Johnson 2017
 
Trying to find a natural source of domestic rubber, Ford, Edison, and Harvey Firestone partnered in 1927 and formed the Botanic Research Corporation located in Edison’s winter estate in Fort Myers. Ford planted experimental rubber crops in the adjacent Hendry County. Additionally, Ford spent $20 million to start a massive rubber plantation along the Amazon River in Brazil.

The Mangoes bedroom
Photo: Ileana Johnson 2017
 
Henry Ford (July 30, 1863-April 7, 1947), his son Edsel, and wife Clara explored southwest Florida in the Model T Touring car that Ford gave to Edison.

Ford secretary's bedroom with the typewriter
Photo: Ileana Johnson
 
The Model T changed how America traveled and developed into towns and suburbs. This vehicle freed America to develop and explore the wide-open roads and areas less traveled. Americans were able to visit their beautiful country even in remote areas but they had to be able to make quick fixes to the car themselves. To help them do that, the early Model T came with a tool box that fit under the driver’s seat: pliers with screwdriver blade on handle, gas gauge, transmission and combustion wrenches, monkey wrench, grease gun, Ford oil can, and spark plug cylinder head bolt wrench.

Ford's personal Model T in Fort Myers
Photo: Ileana Johnson 2017
 
In addition to the fact that Ford’s car could not go faster than 40 MPH, starting a Model T was a challenge and not for the faint of heart because of the several steps that had to be taken in order for the engine to crank and run smoothly:

-         Set parking brake, throttle and spark lever

-         Get out of car, pull out choke, turn crank slowly, push in choke

-         Get in car, turn key

-         Get out of car again and turn crank quickly

-         Get in car, adjust spark lever until engine runs smoothly. (Museum Archives)

Born on a farm, Ford did not have much use for farming even though his father was disappointed that Henry was fascinated by mechanics and left the farm in 1879. The future machinist repaired pocket watches in 1876.

He started repairing watches at the age of thirteen as a hobby. He would scour the neighborhood for watch parts. This hobby helped him develop his future skills as a machinist and engineer. Taking a fine watch apart is easy, putting it back together to make the intricate mechanism work, is much harder.

“My father was not entirely in sympathy with my bent toward mechanics. He thought I ought to be a farmer,” said Ford.

He founded in 1902 the Henry Ford Automobile Company and began producing the Model T. By 1914, he was paying his employees $5 wages. In 1919 he became the sole owner of the Ford Motor Company and his son Edsel Ford was named President. After the death of Edsel Ford in 1943, Henry Ford resumed the presidency until 1945 when he transferred it to his grandson, Henry Ford II.

When Ford purchased it in 1916, the estate in Fort Myers was surrounded by many citrus plants. There were 100 grapefruit and 50 orange trees, mangoes, paw-paws, lemons, limes, guavas, tangerines, coconuts, and bananas. The property was called The Mangoes because it held so many mango trees.

Henry bought The Mangoes fully furnished. Killian Melber, a local florist who was preparing the home for the arrival of the Fords, told Henry that “all they needed was silverware, bedding, and table linens.”

The Caretaker’s Cottage “evolved from a garage built in the style of the Ford house with accommodations for a good-sized car, a sleeping room for staff, a tool room, and a storeroom overhead.”

The Biggar family bought the estate from Henry Ford in 1947 and added a building to house the Edison/Ford antique car collection and other memorabilia.

Ford's memorabilia and his Stradivarius
Photo: Ileana Johnson 2017
 
Henry was a big supporter of the arts. He learned how to play the violin and played tunes such as Tukey in the Straw on his Stradivarius. His collections of Americana, including well-preserved quilts, are on display at Greenfield Village and The Henry Ford.

It was a lucky strike for our modern mobility and urban development that one farmer’s son out of six siblings chose to become a machinist instead of a farmer like his dad and matured into the titan of America’s automobile industry.

 

 

 

 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Edison and Ford Estates in Fort Myers, Florida

Seminole Lodge, Edison's house
Photo: Ileana Johnson

Hurricane Irma hit Florida with a vengeance six weeks ago, the island had to be evacuated, and the ocean receded from its bay. Siesta Key was spared severe devastation but its neighbors to the south, Naples, San Marco, and Fort Myers did not fare as well. Irma hit them as a strong category 3 hurricane. The evidence is painful to see in the mounds of chopped up uprooted trees and torn vegetation yet to be picked up in front of every home.
The Edison/Ford Estate lost 100 old trees, shrubs, and other tropical vegetation that used to shade almost 20 acres of property, now fully exposed to the sun. Vegetation grows fast in Florida but 100-year trees are hard to replace. The estate museum opened on October 14, 2017 for the first time since the severe winds devastated the once shady and lush green gardens, still beautiful but showing signs of distress.

Edison's 90-year old Banyan tree
Photo: Ileana Johnson
Edison’s beloved 90-year old Banyan tree survived the hurricane onslaught. This Banyan tree was among the more than 17,000 samples that Edison tested for his research effort to find a natural source of rubber. It is documented that the tree was planted in 1927 and is one of the largest in the continental U.S. The Banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis) produces a milky sap (latex) that can be used as rubber. The Edison and Ford estates have more than thirteen types of ficus trees.

Fort Myers is known as the City of Palms; it is a tradition started by Edison – he planted 1.5 miles of royal palms along McGregor Boulevard in front of his winter home.

Edison’s botanical research laboratory eventually found a source of rubber in the plant called goldenrod. He was worried that the source of rubber domestically would dry up in the case of a shortage in the foreign supply. The lab, which was built in 1928, remained operational until 1936, five years after Edison’s death.

                                                             Sanibel Island Beach
                                                             Photo: Ileana Johnson

Nearby Sanibel Island, lush with jungle-like vegetation seemed to have fared better.  Off the fishing pier, the sugary-white quartz sand shell beach was sparkling in the noon sun. The ocean had a greenish-rusty brown hue. Wading in the surf to find more shells on the bottom was fun even in leather sandals. Sanibel Island’s lighthouse had an unusual iron skeleton appearance; it was first lit in 1884.

Sanibel Island Fishing Pier
Photo: Ileana Johnson
 
Sanibel Island Lighthouse
Photo: Ileana Johnson
 
The bay in Siesta Key was flooded by jelly fish and hundreds of bathers and swimmers were stung daily; nobody could resist the balmy 83 degree Fahrenheit waters with small and gentle waves. The life guards were flying the purple caution flag for dangerous marine life. People took a careless attitude to the jelly fish.  How much can they possibly hurt? We are going in for a swim.

As clouds gathered for a rainy afternoon, it was a perfect time to visit Thomas Edison’s estate in Fort Myers, Florida.  One of Edison’s famous inventions, the incandescent bulb, inexpensive and reliable,  is now becoming extinct as the environmental scaremongers are blaming inexistent global warming on everything man-made despite evidence to the contrary.

Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) was a prodigious inventor, newspaper printer/publisher, telegrapher, and businessman.  Edison’s research lab in Florida focused on finding a domestic source of rubber. He was the only person who was awarded consecutive patents every year for 65 years, a total of 1,093. His favorite invention was the phonograph, but his work improved the telegraph, generators, motors, batteries, movie-making, and cement.

Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, John Burroughs and families camped often in the Florida Everglades. His famous remark, “There is only one Fort Myers and soon 90 million Americans will discover it,” certainly rings true today.

River view from the porch
Photo: Ileana Johnson
 
Edison found a 14 acre property along the Caloosahatchee River countryside, one mile south of the city of Fort Myers. The land was mostly scrub and wild vegetation with Giant Green Bamboo, a natural fiber with which Edison experimented as filament for his incandescent bulb. Among hundreds of exotic plants growing on the island, mango trees and orchids, there are many species of green bamboo.

The Edison estate pier
Photo: Ileana Johnson
 
Edison and his family were trying to evade the cold winters of West Orange, New Jersey and found a mild paradise in Fort Myers.

Pergola which connects the main house with the guest house
Photo: Ileana Johnson
 
The riverside buildings were built in 1886 and remodeled through the years. The large Seminole Lodge is composed of a family home, a connecting pergola, and a guest house. His little office, a pool, a teahouse, the Caretaker’s house, seawall recreation area, and Moonlight Garden were added later. In 1911 the pool constructed by W.R. Wallace and Company cost $1,000.

Edison living room
Photo: Ileana Johnson
 
Edison bedroom
Photo: Ileana Johnson
 
The Guest House was built for Edison’s good friends Ezra and Lillian Gilliland as their winter retreat.  They owned the home for three years and, in 1891 sold it to Ambrose McGregor who lived with his family year-around in the house until 1902. In his honor, the boulevard that runs along the Guest House was named McGregor in 1914. Edison bought the home in 1906 and turned it into a guest house with a dining room, kitchen/pantry, and servants quarters. “Visitors included Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone who stayed for days and Charles Lindbergh who came for dinner. They received reminders of a Florida visit when mangoes, grapefruit, guava, and orange marmalade would arrive at their northern homes.”

The Caretaker’s House is an example of early “Cracker” architecture and is one of the oldest standing buildings in Fort Myers. The lumber for all buildings on the property was pre-cut in Maine and transported by ship to the pier.

In 1947 Madeleine wrote to her mother, “We did enjoy the lazy days at Fort Myers – I couldn’t have borne it not to see the place again as it always was – and I’m glad it was warm enough for a farewell swim in the pool.”

Mina and Thomas Edison's swimming pool
Photo: Ileana Johnson
 
Until 1929 when city water was hooked to the riverside property, Edison provided water to its own property by ingenious ways such as a windmill which pumped water from a well, a 40,000 gallon cistern which captured rainwater, and two artesian wells. Today he might have been imprisoned by environmental agencies for capturing rainwater on his property.

The pier which stretches 1,500 feet into the Caloosahatchee River was initially called the wharf and was used to load and unload boats of supplies for the family and for the lab. Later, it was used mostly for recreational activities such as boating and fishing.

Mina, Edison’s wife, wrote to the family in 1909, “Thomas caught a trout, snapper and I think a small tarpon which he did land, right off the pier… We may supper there this evening, I am not sure.”

At first Fort Myers was isolated from the rest of the state; the railroad connected to the city by 1904; then a wooden bridge was built in 1924; and the roadway now known as the Tamiami Trail, connecting Tampa to Miami, which allowed the Edisons to visit their friends, the Firestones, at their winter home in Miami Beach.  The Tamiami Trail cost $8 million, took twelve years to complete, and 3 million sticks of dynamite. The Edison Bridge which spans the Caloosahatchee River was built in 1928 and dedicated on Edison’s last birthday, February 11, 1931. (Museum Archives)

When completed, Edison’s bridge had no electric lights. A nationwide cartoon satirized the irony of the bridge for its lack of lights and, in 1937, the city added over fifty lampposts, work completed by the Florida Power & Light.

In 1910 Edison had developed a commercial iron-nickel alkaline battery for use in electric cars which he considered the future of mass transportation. Because of the internal combustion engine, Edison sold his battery for industrial use instead, thus becoming Edison’s most lucrative invention.

His miner’s cap lamp battery (1930) saved thousands of miners from flammable gases igniting an explosion if a bulb broke. His secondary battery was encased in a steel case, an electric lamp connected with a flexible cable, and a safety measure preventing ignition.

Another important invention was the carbonaire primary battery used for railroad applications (1950); it replaced prior primary batteries. Edison’s primary battery emerged during 1880s, providing power to telephone systems, fire alarms, doorbells, sewing machines, electric fans, and phonographs.

Edison’s research on secondary batteries (1899), which could be recharged, “was an alternative to existing lead-acid secondary batteries, which were heavy and difficult to recharge.”  His portable unit from 1925, the 6 volt Edison Radio Filament battery which could recharge radio batteries, was on display. So were the Edison-Lalande batteries from 1890, named to recognize the French scientist, Felix de Lalande, who had the first patent for the copper-oxide-zinc-caustic soda battery.

The first movie camera was called a kinetograph. Edison worked with George Eastman. Edison announced in 1888 that he would manufacture a machine called a kinetoscope that would “do for the eye what the phonograph does for the ear.” (kineto, Greek for “motion,” and scope for “view”) Edison modified Eastman’s flexible film and “adapted it for his own motion picture products.” (Museum Archives)

Edison’s system of lighting with Direct Current (DC) was first used on Pearl Street Station in New York. The area included Wall Street from which Edison attracted investors and several New York newspapers from which Edison gained publicity. The system was most efficient within a square mile of the station. The station burned in 1890 but the standard for an electrical utility was set.

But the alternating current (AC) proved more practical because it continually reverses direction, can be conducted at high voltage over long distances, and can be transformed to lower voltages to power many devices.  The direct current (DC) runs in a single direction, is conducted at low voltage with a lower risk of injury, and can only be conducted a short distance.  Direct current (DC) powers today cell phones and electric cars.

Nikola Tesla worked briefly for Edison in 1884 before he went to work for competitors. They were not really bitter rivals as the media portrayed them. The museum archives evidence the fact that years after the “war of the currents,” Edison appeared in public to hear Tesla address the American Institute of Electrical Engineers and Tesla graciously “asked the crowd to give Edison a standing ovation.”

By December 1878 Edison had designed numerous generators and an electric meter. The electric lighting was so much cheaper than gas yet he had not yet devised the incandescent light bulb.

Edison’s laboratory held equipment to perform chemical and mechanical experiments (1886). Edison had spent $12,000 to build and furnish each of his homes but he spent $16,000 on the lab. It had a dynamo powered by a coal-fired steam boiler which provided electricity for the entire estate in 1887, eleven years before the City of Fort Myers was electrified. The original lab was sold to Henry Ford who moved it to Dearborn, Michigan, where it became base of operations of The Edison Institute, still open to visitors today.

The New York Times reported in February 1886 that “one of the ships carrying supplies for the lab was hit by lightning and sunk.” The insured cargo ($3,000) held “chemicals, machinery, and furniture.” (Museum Archives)

TO BE CONTINUED