The Best We Got?

Saturday night I spent the early evening and well into the night with several old and new friends at the Black Lake Lodge in the mountains of Colorado. This little Eden lies two or three miles off the main road. Before you turn off down that byway is the Master Bait and Tackle shop if you come unprepared but I not being true fisherman decided to pass up this chance of a lifetime. As you wander further and further into the forest primeval any vestige of civilization slips away with each weather torn rut in the road.

The good old Lesbaru took its place among the pickups and high end SUV’s in the lot. Any evidence of wealth or position was left in the trash barrel at the front door. Everyone is a good old boy no matter where you call home. I greeted everyone and this place immediately felt as comfortable as a pair of old loafers.Throughout the evening the conversation was devoid of politics. A true accomplishment. To be terribly trite we just sucked in the mountain air and of course more than enough Irish Whiskey to go with the card playing. We had escaped.

The next day on the ride down to home I made the terrible mistake of turning on the news. The Donald was taking on a Gold Medal family and the Dems were decrying the Russian invasion of their inner sanctum. I winced at Trump making one gaffe after another and having no sense of decorum. I listened in disbelief that the spin meisters had created a diversion for the exit of Madame Wasserman Schultz by the looming presence of Putin and Co. Forget the giant headlines that the ruling class was out to screw Bernie out of the nomination at every turn. And all these fools want to lead our country for another four years?

By Monday night I could not summon the courage liquid or otherwise to watch my beloved PBS Evening News. Where else to go? Charlie Rose, of course. I have saved a gazillion of them for a time just like this. The first one to catch my eye was one with David McCullough, historian extraordinaire. Actually it was a compilation of several interviews. He verbally weaves as good a story as he writes. It all centered around the Declaration of Independence and the war with the British. As he told of courage and mistakes and true grit of a rag tag band of rebels I could not help but think wistfully about where we are today. Do we even come close to having a Washington, Madison, Jefferson or Adams? Incredible and oh so sad where we are by comparison.

The next was an interview with Tom Friedman who along with David Brooks are two of my most favorite reads on the body politic. Tom is coming out with a new book in November and he presented a wonderful teaser that was particular by its overview of the world. He split the world into orderly and chaotic nations. The latter were the Sudans, Syrias, Libyas Yemens et alia of the planet. There was little or no government present and these were seedbeds of violence and atrocities.

The rebels had no life per se and therefore nothing to lose. They could not be intimidated and took what they wanted whether it be spoils of war or human beings. The populace seeing no hope took off for points unknown preferring a treacherous journey to sure death or enslavement. Ergo the basis of our current migration problem.The only possible solution for these God forsaken people were the orderly nations but the welcome mat not only wore thin but was pulled inside before long. Millions of people trying to survive and the best they have are wind blown tents on arid and barren landscape without sanitation or water.

The most shocking part is that the destination nations including our own were blindsided by events. The billions we all have spent on spy agencies rendered us clueless. This all came crashing home to me. Our world is changing at warp speed from terrorism to technology. We have Moore’s Law that doubles computer capability every two years or so. We have climate change that is raging out of control regardless of the cause. We have changing views on morality and ethics. And yes whether we like it or not globalization is woven into every thread on our fabric of life. Do you think there is any chance we can turn back clock and take a timeout to get our act together?

As Friedman concluded and in a way McCullough fantasized we have not the mental acuity nor the flexibility in our political systems to meet the challenges. The cognoscenti are in technology and sadly they are the only ones right now who can see the future.Both of our political parties are hopelessly concentrating on the short term of the next elections. There is not a statesman or woman in the lot who is willing to do what is appropriate and evident for fear of upsetting the party hacks or their electorate. We need the gumption of our forefathers who probably went against the tide and pursued independence even though failure meant a trip to the gallows. I think we need a totally different third or fourth party to break this infantile gridlock.

We have a gigantic debt problem. Healthcare is a runaway train. Entitlements have got to be revised. The tax code borders on absurd. We need jobs but the reality is there are just not enough high paying jobs to go around. Our infrastructure needs serious work from roads to sewers. We should have serious discussion on these and more but all we have is catfighting,backrooms and well rehearsed scripts. Kids, this is the best we got and it should embarrass each and every one of us. I know it bugs me to death

As always
Ted The Great


Washington and his troops were beaten badly in the Battle of Brooklyn. Their retreat across the East River was aided by a fog that mysteriously hovered on the Brooklyn side alone. The British fleet could not pursue because of an eerie wind that prevented them from intercepting the Colonial troops. Our guys further retreated to New Jersey to spend the winter of their discontent. Some marched without shoes and suffered dysentery. In one last gasp they crossed the Delaware and defeated the Hessians at Trenton and then at Princeton. This all out push saved the war and the early colonies. And the rest is history.

We take years and billions of dollars to run for national and local offices. Most countries in the civilized world accomplish this in 6-8 weeks. We have approximately 100 days to go until Election Day. I am buying stock in liquor companies and drug companies that make anti depressants.

Over decades we through the CIA and other clandestine organizations have tried to influence elections and regimes though our world. With a straight face we say we are shocked at Russia’s interference.

Excitedly I told my friend about the Friedman interview and how he should watch it. He vigorously shook his head no and said he wanted no part of that “Liberal Asshole”. That was encouraging. If you go to Charlie it is S25 ep139. It runs about 40 minutes.


Way back when, in the fifties, there was a horror movie entitled, “Them”. A nuclear disaster created giant ants and they kept multiplying in the New Mexico desert to terrorize the populace. I imagine that is probably how the Donald and Co are viewed by a lot of Americans and maybe the world. It got me thinking.

We assign “them” to lot of different types of people ranging from ethnic to regional to religious differences. They become more pronounced in election years as we cast our ballots. Hilary wins the blacks. Donald gets the red necks. Cruz caters to evangelicals and Bernie, socialists in hiding. I am not sure if I am in any of those categories so my choices may be limited. But whoever you are it comes down to us versus them. This is not as much of an aberration as one might think. It may be in our genes.
This goes back a long time ago to Neanderthal man. Then it was us against the rest of the animal world. We got together for common good in so far as security and food gathering. As we started to communicate we went from grunts to simple sentences to eventually complex thought. Sometimes I think we are still stuck at the monosyllabic stage. But I digress.

Them becomes a broad category that we paint with a wide brush. We can categorize with color,accent or dress as in Blacks, Hispanics and Muslims. You probably could include various regions of the US in that dialect thing. Hyperbole seems to be the order of the day and rational thought gives way to rants. If I don’t have to consider the individual or particular circumstances I can get really riled up at whole assemblies of peoples and feel just fine.

But for a moment let’s think about the concept of banding together. A group can be as few as two people that have something in common. We share ideas and maybe beliefs. When we are small we can be more specific and detailed. As the masses enter, the founding concepts get blurry and a few bullet points are all that matter.

People want to be part of a group. We are social beings but you have to wonder why? Is it security or camaraderie? Necessity or convenience? I think it is just that they want to belong, to say they are part of something. It also denotes acceptance. You have made it and are considered one of peers. The rules become tougher as the old guard want to enforce the founding principles. Beyond rituals there is a feeling that if one gives in at all it will weaken the organization.

Two phenomena occur. Unless it is in itself a group of entrepreneurs or free thinkers there is a loss of individuality. Creativity is looked askance at and new ideas suffer or not depending on your point of view. People are reluctant to speak out or stand from the crowd at the risk of alienating people. Instead of being a contributor you are looked upon as a zealot or rabble rouser.

The second part is the emergence of a “loner”. They can become everything from a solitude seeker to a social outcast. Some people just don’t want to mix it up which is fine but others feel an enormous lack of acceptance by their fellow man or woman. This can grow into  psychoses or paranoia. Our jails are littered with those who have fallen prey to their demotion or nonacceptance and decided it to take to out on the world with a firearm or sword in hand. Now we have new group of whackos and weirdos that society paints with the same wide swath. As our populations grow and categorizations multiply, more and more are left out of the mix and murder and mayhem become the only panacea.

Hobbes and Rousseau et alia have delved far deeper into social contracts than this small brain can muster but it really is intriguing to think of the options. Is the individual the product of society or is society the creation of the individual? We first start to converse and those interactions give way to ideas and beliefs. That in turn becomes a culture over time. Common laws are quantified and we live in harmony..sort of.

There is another way to look at this. Are we the organism or are we just appendages to the mass? I personally like the primary mover part. Without recognizing one’s contribution and effect on society we are at the whim of the world. I happen to ascribe to self determination and the ability to change society for better or worse. Maybe it is a distaste for acquiescence and rather the knowledge that whatever terms we are living under, they can be improved.

Given that, remember we are known by the company we keep. If you are comfortable being a hard right or left go for it. If you are only tending that way take heed and speak up. Maybe this is fodder for a third party. Not one that arises from a pout but one that really wants to draw from both sides of the ledger. If you are a member of a club or organization that does not share your values, either change their direction or quit. What have you lost your mind TTG? No, but maybe some of us have lost our way.

After all this deep cogitation I have arrived at the conclusion I was hoping I wouldn’t get to. The ability to find a middle ground as we are currently constructed is a remote hope and distant possibility. Very distant. Our minds are too closed and quite frankly the effort to coalesce is just not time well spent in our increasingly busy world. Peace, fraternity and egalite`are lofty goals that don’t fly. We are too busy to try to turn “them” into “us”. And that is a tragic but the contemporary state of affairs. I’ll deal with ti.

As always
Ted The Great

What is the social contract theory of government?

Social contract. the voluntary agreement among individuals by which, according to any of various theories, as of Hobbes, Locke, or Rousseau, organized society is brought into being and invested with the right to secure mutual protection and welfare or to regulate the relations among its members. Source unknown but sure makes sense.

Five defining characteristics of stupidity. First, is sheer ignorance: Ignorance of critical facts about important events in the news, and ignorance of how our government functions and who’s in charge. Second, is negligence: The disinclination to seek reliable sources of information about important news events. Third, is wooden-headedness, as the historian Barbara Tuchman defined it: The inclination to believe what we want to believe regardless of the facts. Fourth, is shortsightedness: The support of public policies that are mutually contradictory, or contrary to the country’s long-term interests. Fifth, and finally, is a broad category I call bone-headedness, for want of a better name: The susceptibility to meaningless phrases, stereotypes, irrational biases, and simplistic diagnoses and solutions that play on our hopes and fears. Rick Shenkman,Editor History News Network. Perfecto.
The 10 most innovative countries in the following order: Switzerland, United Kingdom,Sweden, Netherlands, United States, Finland, Singapore, Ireland, Luxembourg, Denmark (Home of LEGO.)

Sea Changes….

Sea Changes….

I have always been a proponent of the pendulum theory. Call me a student of history or just a cockeyed optimist. It always seems that no matter how crazy things get, there occurs a righting moment. That’s a nautical term where the ship can list over only so far. If it goes beyond it, the mighty vessel capsizes. If it holds there is soon a return to equilibrium or and even keel as it were.

Last Saturday morning as I opened the Wall Street Journal’s Review section I was hit right between the eyes by Charles Murray’s discussion of “Trump’s America” which I think was poorly titled. I passed the article on to a few of you stating it was not political and I don’t think it was. It defined an anger and frustration that could have been amped up by either The Donald or Bernie. A frustration that can only be described as an alienation from what has made America great.

Let’s say the American tradition or creed as Murray puts it has been egalitarianism, liberty and individualism. Fair enough. Point being that the  middle class doesn’t feel the love and are backing the two outsiders. They feel and its true that over the last few decades that have at best been treading water financially. The old formula of work hard, raise a family and do your best has produced a bitter taste rather than the sweet nectar of accomplishment.

They want to lash out at Wall Street but that is just an address. There is an elite of the media, legal fields, finance and technology that embodies raw power and separation from their lesser brethren. When I was growing up I guess you could say we had money and many of those around us did also. But we never knew it or even more importantly betray any sense of elitism. We were part of the town, church and school in every sense of the word. If you got on a high horse there was mom or dad more than willing to knock you off it.

Egalitarianism was alive and well in Manhasset, NY. You played ball with every ethnic and racial group. Yes, there were plenty of blacks. It seems the affluent, whatever that means, were neat but not gaudy. We lived in nice homes but if I were to go there today I would not describe them as opulent. If people had wealth they did not flaunt it. They wanted to fit in rather than stand out. Their weal was not hidden as much as worn well. Then things changed.

Probably the seeds were sprouting some twenty five years ago. A lot was not enough. Some wanted it all. Everywhere we became driven by ROI. Find the fastest,cheapest way to deliver product and mom and pop did not enter the discussion. This is not a diatribe against capitalism a much as a description of what happened to a whole lot of people as a result. Wealth no longer described a nice lifestyle but a race to have it all and fast. And there were casualties. Those were not bums but nice guys who saw their way of life and dreams shattered. And they are fodder for our opportunistic politicians.

Establishment is not selling. Each party is wringing their hands trying to find the right message but the natives are restless. They are galled and they are impatient. They have been buying the Kool Aid for too long. It no longer slakes their thirst. As we grow larger and larger we have to deal with the masses. Treat people as groups not individuals. Gotta have a rule for this and that and the government becomes stifling rather than empowering.

Add them up and our American creed as we knew it seems to be fraying at the edges if not completely threadbare. We lash out at the immigrants and if we send them all back home everything will be all right again. Really? A lot of these people are more than hard working and resourceful. Family and religion for all it defines are terribly important to them. We started off for the most part as Anglo Protestants. Gradually that morphed into Catholic, Judaeo Christian and yes a melange of Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and whatever. Pardon me but I think that is what makes us great….or at least did.

This election cycle as obnoxious as it is becomes defining. There is a considerable part of our populace that are pissed off for one reason or another. I happen to believe that the middle class have a case to make. They are not on the dole as so many of our lower class are. They see the poor as living off the fruit of their efforts and the dependency is not easing. Men don’t work and fewer and fewer are married. Numbers of unwed mothers are soaring and the resources to sustain them are incomprehensible. They have also been outed by the upper class. The rich and famous like things just fine but a lot of what they have has to a large degree been on the back of productivity and cost cutting. Trickle down is exactly working out as planned.

Somebody or some party might figure this out. We can’t have healthcare and free tuition for all. At the same time we can’t be insular and pay lip service to the shills of conservatism. It’s ironic that Nino Scalia died this week. He was a strict wordsmith when it came to the Constitution. It’s not today that set the end lines but what was happening in the 1700’s. The founding fathers laid down the rules and we agreed to live by them. But once again those were based on egalitarianism, liberty and individualism. Do we still believe it?

I am not sure if the ship is going to right itself or if it should? I just hope we put some real thought into our collective cultural future as well as our economic one. I would hope the WSJ and other media outlets would put in as many articles as this one as they do on the IMF, The Middle East, the price of oil  and the Fed. That would really be a sea change…and for the better.

As always
Ted The Great


None to speak of.


Too Big Not To Fail…..


We were at a dinner party the other night and I sat next to a lovely young woman who by her own admission was an avowed liberal. Fair enough. She said she was for more government and power to the people. I asked her if she felt that universal healthcare was appropriate? Of course. I then asked if we could afford the ultimate in treatment for 320 million Americans. For instance there is a new drug for cancer that would give someone with cancer an extra three months of life but at a cost of $250,000. Needless to say there was a pregnant pause in the conversation.

In these days of presidential aspirations we are being treated to all manner of hyperbole when it comes to what this candidate or that will do for you. Bernie is selling the everything for free Kool Aid and there is a large group that is drinking it up much to Hilary’s dismay. On the other side the Donald is going to build the wall that is bigger and better than anything in China and of course we are going to build a hundred more ships and yada yadda. How are we going to pay for it? Just leave it to Carl Icahn.
Leaving all the discourse aside I have reached the conclusion that we cannot afford one more iota of growth in government. No more programs, departments, sub secretaries or weapons systems. We have grown too unwieldy and beyond any genius of management. We spend $3.8 trillion per annum which is about 20% of our GDP. About $450 billion of that is money we don’t have, ergo the deficit. Including defense we have about 4 million employees in the federal government and nationwide there are 20 million in the employment of the public sector.

We have had a fiasco here in Denver which is the problem in a nutshell. As a center for veterans in the Rocky Mountain region, Denver is home to a rather large and antiquated medical facility. Some 20-25 years ago it was determined a new or renovated medical center was needed. Coincidentally the University of Colorado was building an entirely new campus in nearby Aurora. A proposal was made to share facilities with the Vets with equal advantages to both. The cost was to be around $325 million. Not so fast, TTG. The American Legion of all groups weighed in and said our boys needed a stand alone independent operation. Presto chango our congressional delegation fell in line and now we were headed to a singular development at much higher cost.

The story gets worse. The architectural firm got out of control and started designing block long atriums and zigzagging and curved walls. If you have ever built you know the cost of these versus squared off walls. Beyond belief the whole operation was started without a firm price. Finally they agreed to $604 million on the fly but only if the design was changed to more normal specifications. This agreement was handwritten on a legal pad which the builder and the VA signed. That’s for 1.2 million square feet and 12 buildings….on a yellow piece of paper.
Long story short the bill has now climbed to $1.73 billion and the number of beds lowered from 182 to 148. They still have the custom doors, windows and wooden floors. That does not include furnishings and equipment which add another $340 million. I can’t make this stuff up. And construction will not be completed until 2017. An aberration? No, the VA are having the same types of problems with hospitals in New Orleans and Florida.

Now you say let’s make someone pay for this lunacy. Can’t do that because the project managers and internal designers have taken early retirement. By the rules of Civil Service they are untouchable. I wish it was just the VA. The F35 jet fighter is overwrought with overruns and capabilities that are far less than first envisioned. The web site for Obamacare was originally pegged to cost $465 million but came in at $825 million. Go back to those 4 million workers doing who knows what with little management oversight. I guarantee there are people working in offices on programs that were shut down years ago and nobody knows why they are there.

There are three pieces to the puzzle. First and foremost is the agency. People have champagne tastes on beer budgets because it is not their nickel. They put everything into the design and then proceed to submit change orders well into the project. They have no profit and loss statement to worry about. They intentionally lowball the estimates. Usually the viability of a project is judged by its ability to make economic sense. They know that once we get into this or that the government vis a vis the politician will come through with the additional funding. But if the real facts were known if never would have gotten off the ground in the first place.

The second piece is our elected representatives who have gotten there because they have brought this to that governmental spending piece to their home district. He or she will do everything in their power to keep it there and crow to the electorate. And of course the supplier is there contributing to his campaign. Northrop Grumman, Raytheon et alia have strategically made sure that some portion of that ship or plane is manufactured in every congressional district in the country.

That is just bricks and mortar and hardware. We have not even begun to speak of medicine and wellness. Day care, food stamps, anti poverty programs, housing, transportation, airports…shall I continue on? The enormity and complexity of the problem boggles the mind. Forgive me if the latest and greatest idea doesn’t give me a warm fuzzy.

My solution is this. For the next two to four years we do nothing new. Congress and the executive branch twiddle their thumbs.They can do that. We put the departments on a budget. You want to do this? Then eliminate that. Forget about balancing the budget by 2020. Do it now at all cost. Now you and I can vote the bums out.We can all give up our sacred cows. But you and I know that won’t happen and that is why I say we are too big not to fail. It’s inevitable and incredibly sad.

As always,
Ted The Great


It is estimated that due to fraud and poor management the US Government pays out over $125 billion on funds annually that are unnecessary or illegal.Over the last five years, the GAO said it has made 440 recommendations across 180 areas where federal agencies can cut back on fragmented, overlapping and duplicative spending programs, but as of November 2014, only 29 percent of the actions were fully addressed, according to the report. Congress refuses to hold their feet to the fire and bureaucrats stonewall.

We have a debt of over $18 trillion. How much of that as noted above is the residue of waste and fraud ? We pay interest on that every year. That is the most galling of all to me.

Over the past three years, the Government Accountability Office found 162 areas where agencies are duplicating efforts, at a cost of tens of billions of dollars. Government agencies are spending billions on new mapping data — without checking whether some other government agency already has maps they could use.It took the GAO three years to identify the federal catfish inspection programs in triplicate, inefficiency of fragmented military uniform procurement, and overlap in almost 80% of drug treatment programs. I rest my case.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Our Declaration of Independence says it. Our morality implies it. Everyone is entitled to Life, Liberty and The Pursuit of Happiness. We have fought battles near and far to uphold it. We have had numerous discussions about its meaning but dare I say, they really are self evident.

America wanted to get itself out from under monarchs, despots and tyranny. We wanted a system that would just do the basics. The last thing they wanted was a new form of domination. You can argue the above philosophically but that was the situation. They also could not have dreamed of a world as complex as ours. Fair enough?

Okay Life says you can’t go running around killing people. It is from the fact you are entitled to that life that the other two rights flow. It is the starting point.

Liberty means two things to me. First is you should be able to roam the country without constraints. No one should own you. No slavery. We really blew it here. It also means you should be able to think whatever you want. The government and others should not be able to coerce you into doing, saying or thinking anything.

Lastly is the Pursuit of Happiness. Define your own idea of heaven. But it does not mean you are assured of its achievement. You can strive for it but there are no guarantees. If you want to sit on your butt that is okay too.

Now all these things feed into a social contract. It is an agreement between government and the people saying you give me this and I will give up my right to do that. Money, airports, courts etc. Still simple enough.

Now it gets dicey. Enter conservatives, liberals and independents alike.

How much government is enough? How much is too much. We really have changed the original plan.

As a result of the depression in the thirties, we saw the entry of the government as the savior of last resort…the safety net. WPA, Social Security et al were envisioned to be the stopgap of total devastation. One for all and all for one.

Ditto Medicare and Medicaid in the sixties. Well meaning but really dangerous because now your pursuit of happiness was getting a boost from an outside source. And it became an opiate for political pushers.

The insidious nature of this conversation is that it slowly creates an underlying philosophy….you owe me. No matter how badly I screw up. No matter what I do to my finances. If I fail in school. If I badly abuse my body. You owe me. Heal me. No repercussions. Just do it. Ergo, “Entitlement”

But it goes further. If you were making $150,000 a year and you lose your job you think you are owed a $150,000 job. If you moved up to a 4000 square foot house, you wouldn’t think of sizing down to save money or avoid foreclosure. Somehow you would think you were being screwed.

The word entitlement goes far beyond Social Security and Medicare. As a country we have marketed unrealistic expectations. We advertise and entice. The American Dream. And then we rebel or cry ignorance when it results in disaster.

For every right we have there is a responsibility. If we really want to be free, we have to realize the risk it entails. If we want life, it also means you have to take care of your life. Pursue happiness but no one should think they are assured success.

Incredibly, we don’t think suffering is a part of life. Daddy Warbucks of all sorts will bail me out whether it is my house, my body or my soul. Maybe we are too soft. Maybe we are brats. Maybe we have never had it real bad. We will.

We have a fabulous country. I am not espousing we undue so much of the good we have created. I abhor the huge divisions between classes. I hate to see poverty. But we have changed the plan in principle and thrust and it will bankrupt us.

Part of the contract says I will give you X and you give me Y. No more No less. We all expect more and more. Rich and poor both have to understand what’s happening. There has got to be a lot of give on both sides. Liberals don’t despair. Conservatives don’t get smug. All are responsible….especially me.

As Always

Ted The Great



Say Amen….

Some of you may remember Don Imus’s famous Discount House of Worship for the Church of the Gooey Death in Del Rio, Texas. Playing the Rev. Billy Sol Harkus, he would verbalize several spiritual exhortations and then there was a rousing “Amen” from the church chorus. I have heard those same responses this week from the Nile to the halls of Congress.
The nothing short of titanic results in Egypt are at one time glorious and tragic. The ability of the people to topple a thirty year old regime in 18 days is nothing short of miraculous. They did it without violence. Cell phones replaced IED’s and rocket propelled grenades. A bad day for Al Queda.
At the same time it showed us and other nations for what we are. Manipulators for our own advantage. Mubarak was no worse and probably no better than the Shah of Iran. We kiss this guy’s butt because he helps us. We look the other way when human rights are trampled. All’s fair in love and war. A bad day for diplomats.


I hate hypocrites. I know some of you will say it is a necessary evil but I can’t agree. I saw first hand the idiot act in propping up puppets in Viet Nam. A Swift Boat friend sent me pictures of how the people of Viet Nam are suffering today. The Navy base and surroundings where we parked our patrol boats 40 years ago, now sport high rises and a beachside resort. 55,000 servicemen gave their lives to fight that arch enemy of democracy?
Once again I think what is going on is fabulous. Neither the CIA nor KGB intervened. They didn’t have a clue. Says something for all the billions spent on intelligence and foreign aid. I am not mad. I am bewildered.


Senator Rand Paul was on the TV tonight and I have to admit he made a hell of a lot of sense. The was a young newsman from the Middle East and he gave one of the most erudite and concise analyses of the uprisings in Egypt and Iran that I have heard to date. Both are out of the mainstream.

I taped all the panel news shows from Sunday. I had MOHS surgery today on my poor Irish mug, so I came home and watched them all in a blitz. They all spoke of Egypt but the close-ups now centered on the US budgetary process or lack thereof.

Republicans, Democrats, the Budget Director, all to a man would not address the Entitlement predicament. Boehnner said we had to educate the people first. Like the Prego commercial, the budget man said “It’s in there!” The Prez said tonight that we all had to get together. Yadda.Yadda

Sen. Paul eloquently pointed out that even if we took out the entire amount of discretionary spending in the budget we would still not balance the budget for this year. Everybody is cutting the 16% apart. Not the third rails. Everyone say Amen…

I am beyond encouraged because all of the party hacks are really beginning to look stupid. Rep. Paul Ryan is now the reigning genius on the budget and I think he is getting it. Not only intellectually but air time as well.

OK, it is a stretch, but do any of you feel a little like the populist crowd in Cairo? Years and years of politicos as well as diplomats are being called to task. Sure Obama’s State Department is in disarray but I think Foggy Bottom has been an apt moniker  for a long time. No further comment on Congress.

I will admit I had another blog ready for tomorrow but my intense research in the news world today put me over the top. Yes, I saw the light. Yes, I have been baptized. Yes, I am saved. No, I have not been drinking.

I still have to rant and rave about our financial problems. We have to cut spending. Sorry gang but we have to raise taxes. We have to cut into Medicare. We have to replace our infrastructure. Polls say the public knows we have to cut but they can’t agree where. I disagree.

I think we all know the facts down deep in our heart. I think we all know the party is over. We have got to take some pretty tough medicine. You know we will not be displaced. Just discomforted. Denial is not a river in Egypt.

Compare that minor hurt to those felt in Teheran, Cairo, or Khartoum. In the long run, say “Amen” brothers and sisters…..and let’s get on with it.

As Always;

Ted The Great



Since the 70’s there have been 100 attempted overthrows of totalitarian regimes. 85 have succeeded.


Scalpel Please

 I have watched with great interest the inaugural speeches of several governors over the past few weeks. There is a sense of sobriety across this great country of ours.


There were of course the usual platitudes but there was a sense of urgency from everyone. Cuomo didn’t have an inaugural party and Jerry Brown had hot dogs. There are plenty of those in California. Our governor had a barbecue here in Colorado.

It’s been a binge, an orgy, a frat party or whatever. It’s the morning after. Now do  they have the you know whats to get it done? One of you pointed out in my New Years blog that I didn’t come up with any solutions. My apologies.  Here’s a start.

When I was a kid, we lived in relative proximity to the Long Island Railroad. If you cut through the woods behind Tom Troy’s house, you had a birds eye view of the single track line. And of course the dreaded third rail. It was covered by a protective wooden top piece but everyone knew that touching it was instant death. Zapped. Fried. It was scary in every way.

Well today that is what is going on in legislatures, both local and national. It is come to Jesus time. Incredibly the pols say you can’t touch Social Security, Medicare and the Military. The third rails. But that is where a great deal of the problem is.

Medicare will be unfunded over a period of time. To the tune of several TRILLION dollars. The boomers are coming in force. My view is I am happy to have Medicare. But only because I am now covered. I would pay more to get that. But as I updated my plan, I also discovered that my supplemental premiums went down substantially if I had a big deductible or opted to copay $25.

Last year there were over a billion doctor visits. Why not make everybody on Medicare copay something? Two things happen. One is you raise some money instead of giving it out. Secondly, if you have to pay when you go you might not be as quick to pick up the phone for an appointment. Brilliant TTG! Brilliant!

Last year we had $60 billion in Medicare fraud. One of the reasons is that we didn’t have enough inspectors. Let’s just say we hired 1000 inspectors at $70,000 per. That’s $70 million to save maybe $10-20 billion. Duh?

What if we paid people who reported fraud like whistleblowers? There was a woman from Maine who was as healthy as a horse. She saw on her statement that she supposedly had two prostheses, a liver transplant and was on oxygen. Her Medicare number had been stolen.

The prescription bill of 2004 refused to provide competitive pricing of drugs. The Veterans Administration is not under the same handcuffs and pays about 50% less by negotiating. Is it me or is this stuff really self evident?

There was a news piece on the Chief of Naval Operations. It seems the Navy had to replace some hovercraft used for amphibious landings. There was a tweek here and there but the design had stayed the same for the last 25 years. But the contract called for three years of testing of the “new” craft at the cost of $100 million. Someone finally nixed that provision. How many more are there throughout the government? Yeah, but Ted it is not all that much money in the overall picture. Right.

How about this? We can not account for or find $9 billion in reconstruction money for Iraq. Think that is bad? We can’t find $18 billion of the same monies in Afghanistan. But don’t dare touch our military budget. Leave all the outdated bases open. Not in my back yard.

Lastly that mighty mistress of all… Social Security. The bipartisan Deficit Reduction Committee said we should change the retirement age to 67 by 2050 and 69 by the year 2075. Please reread those numbers slowly and carefully. The screams of horror were heard around the country. Most of the most vehement won’t be alive!

Simply put, we have to face the music. The way we get out of this is to cut smartly. Even the sacred cows. The healthcare system under Obamacare or otherwise is going to bankrupt us as a country. Nobody addressed costs. The Pentagon is fighting two wars and yet is obsessing over new weapons systems. Some needed. Some not. Social Security? Enough said.

Governor Chris Christie gets it. Notwithstanding his untimely vacation in Disneyworld, he is pretty sharp and says we have to have adult conversations. He takes special interests on full bore. Both left and right. People ask him if he realizes he might not get reelected? He said he doesn’t care. I hope he means it. Others take heed.

I am not a rocket scientist by any means but have stumbled on the above without even trying hard. Farm subsidies. Bloated bureaucracies. I am sick. I am mad. I have sharpened my scalpel. Is the above good for starters, mes amis?

As always,

Ted The Great.

Factoid: The autopsies performed on great nations and civilizations have shown death not by conquest but by self inflicted wounds…suicide.