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All about writing, the way Digger sees it.

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Digger Cartwright Interview - Part 2

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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on Thursday, 20 September 2012
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Question 2

Do you make an outline when you write or just write?

 

Most of the time I do make some sort of an outline or roadmap or guide. I know that I’ve never

sat down and written a formal outline like they teach you to do in high school and college.

That’s just not for me. Normally, I’ll make a lot of notes when I’m coming up with an idea for

a novel. I’ll make a list of the characters and maybe have some notes about them. Then I try

to organize those ideas into how they flow in the story. Usually, I just make a list of what I see

happening and the order in which it happens. I try to go by that and let the rest just fall into

place. When I’m writing a novel, nothing is really set in stone. I may have a list of things that

are going to happen but as I get into the story I might throw something in that changes that list

or the order or adds or subtracts from it.

 

The process for me is really very fluid. Things can change. I can come up with another idea or

change some aspect or character for the better or worse as the case may be from time to time.

I may start going in one direction then change course midway through the manuscript. Some

writers are really rigid in their approach to writing. They create the whole outline, chapter by

chapter, and stick with it. Good for them if they can do that. I don’t know what kind of quality

they’re turning out, but whatever works for you.

 

The Versailles Conspiracy, for example, ended in a completely different manner than I had

originally anticipated. I threw some things into the plot along the way that I hadn’t originally

anticipated, and that made the original ending that I envisioned just a little too theatrical. The

original ending might be good for a movie version of the book, but it just wouldn’t have worked

for the novel. Personally, I think the ending of the book is far better than what I had originally

planned, but when I set out to write that book, I didn’t foresee it taking that direction. It just

sort of took on a life of its own and went in its own direction. The same could be said for The

House of Dark Shadows. It was significantly different in a number of aspects from what I had

originally anticipated and planned for.

 

I think writers need to keep an open mind and have a sense of flexibility when it comes to the

storyline. I know that both The Versailles Conspiracy and The House of Dark Shadows turned

out better for the flexibility that I had and the changes I made. But here’s what’s important. I

want each one of my novels to be unique. I want each one to have its own special attributes so

that they each take on a life of their own, if you get my drift. A lot of highly successful writers

have a certain format and stick to it like clockwork. Basically, all they’re doing is changing the

location and the character names. It’s sort of like one of my favorite TV shows, Walker, Texas

Ranger with Chuck Norris. Here was a show that only had like half a dozen different story

lines. All they did was change up the guest stars each week, but the stories followed the same

format…someone gets killed and Chuck Norris goes after them and beats the crap out of them,

end of show. If you read some of the top writers over the last twenty years, you’ll find that a lot

of their books follow the same format. I don’t think anyone can say that of any of my books at

this point.



~Digger

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Digger Cartwright Interview - Part 1

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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on Monday, 17 September 2012
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I interviewed myself recently. Here is the first question I asked and the answer I received.


1. Do you ever get writer’s block and how do you deal with it?

 

 

 

I do get writer’s block from time to time. I’d say that just about every writer battles that condition at some point. You can just be rolling along with a storyline and all of a sudden you’re like, ‘Where do I go from here?’ And then there’s nothing more intimidating than sitting there staring at a blank page. To me writer’s block isn’t just not knowing what to say or do with the story, it can also be when you’re dialogue or prose just goes stale for a while. You can be writing your heart out then suddenly realize you’re not going anywhere with what you’re doing. It can be very frustrating, and I’d venture to say it’s the number one reason why people either don’t write or give up on a project.

 

For me I might have to step away for an hour or so or a day or longer if I’m stuck. I might sit in the hot tub and try to mentally work through the block. A good massage always helps. Maybe working out some frustration or anxiety at the gym. And I pace a lot. You know, the old walk back and forth until you come up with the solution. There’s really no cure for writer’s block.

 

For me, I have to be in the right frame of mind and the right mood if I’m going to write. If I’m not feeling it, it just isn’t going to work out for me and that’s when I have to battle the creature known as writer’s block. If I’m in the right mood, it just sort of comes naturally. I’ve learned not to try to force it, just let the creative juices flow when they’re ready. If I could sit for eight or ten hours a day and write, I’d be cranking out about eight books a year. It’s just not mentally or physically possible for me to do that. My brain would just overload if I tried to do that, so I wait for the right time and place and sit down and start writing. Let it happen. That’s why you only get one or two books a year from me, if you’re lucky. If I tried to force doing more, I know the quality would suffer, and I’ve always been one to prefer quality over quantity.

~Digger



 

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Twenty-Five Questions You Should be able to Answer…if You Want to Vote

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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on Saturday, 28 July 2012
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Twenty-Five Questions You Should be able to Answer…if You Want to Vote

Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty. – Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson considered education to be the foundation of democracy.  Furthermore, he believed that the people should be educated before they should be able to vote.  Simply, only educated people could be responsible enough to self govern in our democracy.  I wholeheartedly believe that each individual who wants to vote should be educated.  An uneducated electorate will ultimately fail to protect the democratic form of government and will fall into dictatorship, despotism, or whatever you want to call it. 

It is one thing to attend school and get a high school diploma.  That doesn’t mean that you’re educated or that you have the intellectual capacity to vote.  I don’t think that a good number of people here in the United States have the intellectual capacity to vote.  Nonetheless, those who have attained the age of 18 years old are allowed to vote

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t expect you to be an Albert Einstein in order to vote.  I do believe, however, that anyone who wants to vote should have both a minimum level of education and a knowledge of American civics before they can vote.  So, if you drop out of high school, you shouldn’t be allowed to vote.  If you don’t graduate with a minimum grade point average of, let’s say, 2.5, you shouldn’t be allowed to vote.  However, more important that this, I think that the American voters at large have a deficiency of knowledge in American civics.  How then can these voters be expected to make rational decisions as part of our democracy?  Furthermore, without a certain minimum knowledge of American civics, why should these people be entrusted with a vote that may have an impact on other people?

With voting comes responsibility.  It’s just that simple.  Would you trust your doctor to prescribe medicine to you if he didn’t have medical knowledge?  Would you trust someone to represent you without a law degree or knowledge of the law?  Would you trust a stranger to babysit your child?  I doubt any rational person would answer ‘Yes’ to any of these questions.

Therefore, I think that each person should be required to answer five or ten random questions about American civics, American history, etc. before they are allowed to vote.  It’s real simple.  You go in the voting booth, but before the electronic ballot comes up, you get to answer the questions.  (If there’s any place left using paper ballots, we have a real problem!)  If you pass the quiz, you get to vote.  If you don’t pass the quiz, you don’t get to vote.

I’ve come up with a list of twenty-five questions that are representative of the type questions I think each person should be able to answer before they can vote.  Honestly, if you can’t answer ALL of the following twenty-five questions CORRECTLY, I don’t think you should be able to vote.

1.      1.  Who is the current Vice President of the United States?

2.       2.  Who was the first President of the United States?

3.       3.  How many stripes are on the flag of the United States?

4.       4.  How many states are there in the United States?

5.       5.  The first ten amendments to the United States Constitution are known as the what?

6.       6.  What year did the American Revolution begin/what year did the American colonies declare their independence from Great Britain?

7.       7.  Who was President of the United States during the Civil War?

8.       8.  What are the three branches of the federal government?

9.       9.  How many senators are there in the United States Senate?

10.   10.  How many voting members are in the United States House of Representatives?

11.   11.  How many justices on the United States Supreme Court?

12.   12.  Who is the current Speaker of the House of Representatives?

13.   13.  Who is the current Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court?

14.   14.  The First Amendment of the United States Constitution provides for freedom of what?

15.   15.  Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?

16.   16.  On what month and day does the United States celebrate declaring its independence from Great Britain?

17.   17.  The USS Arizona was sunk on December 7, 1941 in what state, prompting the United States to enter World War II?

18.   18.  In which state is the Alamo located?

19.   19.  The number of representatives that each state has in the US House of Representatives is based on a state’s what?

20.   20.  Whose picture is on the $20 bill?

21.   21.  Only the United States _____________ has the power to declare war.

22.   22.  Whose signature appears first on the Declaration of Independence?

23.   23.  Who are your state’s current United States Senators?

24.   24.  What is the capital of the United States of America?

25.   25.  What is the capital of your state?

So how did you do with the questions…did you get to vote?  I’m not going to give you the answers here.  If you don’t know the answer to one of the questions, look it up.  You’ll never forget it after that.

Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education. - FDR


~Digger


 

 

 

 

 

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I Support Higher Gas Prices at the Pump by Raising the Federal Excise Tax on Gasoline

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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on Saturday, 28 July 2012
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I Support Higher Gas Prices at the Pump by Raising the Federal Excise Tax on Gasoline

That’s right.  I support higher gas prices for consumers at the pump.  Let’s get gas prices up there to about $8 per gallon by adding on some massive taxes to gasoline.  I’m talking about gas prices for consumers, the individuals, not the shipping companies.  Quite simply, if you can’t afford the gas, don’t drive.  Or maybe you could carpool or use public transportation or how about walk.

I’m tired of people whining about gas prices.  If you don’t want to pay for gas, don’t buy it.  Stop driving as much.  Most individuals drive a lot more than is necessary to get to and from work.  They take a joy ride to go shopping today then again tomorrow then the next day.  They go out to the movies or run the kids all around town to soccer or baseball or football practice or dance or whatever.  In general, people do a lot of unnecessary running around.  I do it too.

This is what gets me.  No one wants to make any sacrifices in life.  Let’s say gas goes up ten cents per gallon.  If you have a twenty gallon tank, it’s going to cost you an extra $2 each time you fill up.  Maybe you should give up one of those Starbucks’ lattes before you complain about the increase in gas prices.  Or maybe you should give up the manicure or the trip to the spa.  I know a lot of people in the service industry who are always complaining about how high gas prices hurt them, yet every time you turn around they’re out at the bar drinking up a storm.  Maybe you shouldn’t be spending your money on liquor or cigarettes or shooting pool if you can’t afford the gas or think prices are too high.  When cigarette prices go up, people complain but they don’t stop smoking.  When soda prices go up, people don’t stop drinking Coke or Pepsi.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of negatives to higher gas prices, mainly from an economic perspective.  Let’s just say that we only have higher gas prices for individual consumers at the pump—not the diesel prices that the trucking industry uses—just the prices for the average guy like me and you.  Let’s consider the positive side to higher gas prices.

·         With high gas prices, a lot of people just won’t be able to afford to drive anymore.  There is an inverse relationship between gas prices and vehicle miles traveled.  As gas prices increase, vehicle miles traveled decreases.  According to the Federal Highway Administration, the average price of gas in 2011 was $3.52 (regular grade) per gallon as compared to $2.78 in 2010.  Total vehicle miles traveled nationwide in 2011 decreased by about 1.2% compared to 2010.  So, for each 10% increase in gas prices, vehicle miles traveled decreases by 0.5%. 

 

·         We all know that there are a lot of people out of the over 200 million people who are currently driving that shouldn’t be driving, for whatever reason.  These are the people who are trying to put on makeup while they’re driving, the kids trying to impress their friends by driving recklessly, the people who can’t afford both gas and their alcohol, the people who can’t wait until they get to their destination to text.  Higher gas prices are going to take a large swathe of these people out of the driving population.  Think the roads will be safer if these people aren’t on it?  

 

·         With fewer drivers on the road, we’ll be releasing less CO2 into the environment.  Americans use about 400 million gallons of gasoline each and every day.  CO2 emissions are about 1 million tons per day.  Even a small reduction in the amount of gasoline burned each day will reduce the amount of pollution.  In addition, about 5% of particles from tires as they wear on the road are released into the air as pollutants.  Ultimately, these tires end up in landfills at the end of thir useful lives.  Not only are these bad for the environment, they’re bad for your health.  Does anyone object to cleaner air and a cleaner environment?

 

·         With fewer drivers on the roads, there would likely be fewer accidents.  There are about 11 million motor vehicle accidents each year resulting in 30,000-40,000 deaths.  Will fewer drivers on the road save lives?  Yes.  In addition, these accidents cost over a quarter of a billion dollars each year.  Will fewer accidents lower insurance payouts?  Yes.  Will fewer accidents reduce the number of lawsuits in the courts?  Yes.  Think accidents only cost those parties involved in the accident?  Think again.  Who pays for this?  Everyone.  If you have insurance, you pay for it.  If you pay taxes, you pay for it.  If you have employees, you pay for it.  If you buy goods and services, you pay for it.  You may not pay for it directly, but you pay for it one way or another.  So ultimately, fewer drivers on the road will save each and every one of us money.

 

·         As gasoline prices increase, there is a direct relationship with the increase in public transit ridership.  When gas prices spiked back in 2008, exceeding $4 per gallon, public transit saw quarterly increases in ridership of anywhere between 5-7%.  Something like 80% of public transit systems saw an increase in ridership in 2008, when gas prices spiked, and as a result, nearly half of them increased the frequency of their service while about one-third expanded service to new areas.  Obviously, this spike in gas prices and the accompanying increase in ridership were a financial windfall for the public transit agencies and systems.  Sustained increases in ridership would stabilize the finances of these systems and allow for expansion of services.  Many places desperately need expanded public transit services.  High gas prices=higher ridership=more money for expansion=more access to more riders. 

 

·    Here’s a real simple one to understand:  Fewer Drivers on the Road=Less Demand for Gasoline=Less Demand for Foreign Oil…Got that? 

As I said before, we best accomplish higher gas prices by adding massive taxes to the per gallon cost of gasoline.  Right now, the federal excise tax on gasoline is only 18.4 cents per gallon.  The US consumes about 140 billion gallons of gasoline each year.  At that rate, the federal government makes about $26 billion annually from the gasoline tax (not including what state and local governments make).  Let’s say we added on $1.316 per gallon to the gasoline tax, so we’re up to $1.50 per gallon just in the federal tax.  Now, it would be nice to think that the federal government would be making over $210 billion annually from this, but realistically, consumption is going to drop dramatically if this happened.  Even so, let’s say consumption dropped to 100 billion gallons annually.  The federal government would make about $150 billion annually.  Think that extra money could go to stabilizing the Social Security Trust Fund and Medicare?  How about paying down the national debt?

Look, higher gas prices would cause a lot of people a lot of pain, but it may just cause them to change their driving behaviors.  Let’s just recap a few of the benefits of the higher gas prices that result in fewer drivers on the road.

Fewer Drivers=Fewer Accidents

Fewer Drivers=Less Pollution

Fewer Drivers=Boost for Public Transit

Fewer Drivers=Less Dependence on Foreign Oil

Additionally, the increase in the federal gas tax could provide much needed additional funds that could be used to shore up Social Security, Medicare, build new roads, invest in public transit, pay down our national debt, etc.  Ultimately, we’d see a massive increase in public transit services and ridership, but any increases in public transit services and increases in ridership would necessitate a fundamental shift in behavior of the driving public.  Yes, it might be an inconvenience for some who are used to getting up and driving wherever they want and whenever they want.  Sometimes, we have to make sacrifices, particularly if you can’t afford something.

Higher gas prices wouldn’t be easy for anyone, but it would force consumers to make some difficult choices and sacrifices.  We, as a society, have become too spoiled.  We’re used to relatively low gas prices and people get all pissed off when gas prices go up.  I don’t hear too many people complaining that the price of soda in the machine increased from $1.00 to $1.25.

This whole discussion is pretty satirical.  We’re not going to increase the gas tax that much.  But we have a major problem in this country.  We consume way too much gasoline!  It’s just a fact.  There are a lot of problems that come from our excessive consumption of gasoline.  If we want to end our addiction to foreign oil and lower gas prices, there’s a simple solution…DRIVE LESS.  Not only does driving less help reduce our dependence on foreign oil, there are a lot of other benefits that I’ve enumerated in this article. 

I recognize that changing a behavior that is so engrained in our lives is a highly difficult task.  Most people don’t want to make sacrifices.  So, about this?  Start a “No Drive Day” each month.  Maybe it’s one Saturday or Sunday or your day off.  Instead of getting in your car and running to the mall or the beach or a friend’s house, how about walking or biking or taking public transit on just one day per month?  If everyone did that, we’d reduce gasoline consumption by about 400 million gallons per month or nearly 5 billion gallons per year.  Just think if we all sacrificed driving one day each week…that equates to an annual reduction of about 21 billion gallons of gasoline.  Can anyone argue that we wouldn’t be better off if we consumed less?

 
~Digger

 

 

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10 Ways for the Federal Government to Save Money…Almost Immediately - Part 2

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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on Sunday, 22 July 2012
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10 Ways for the Federal Government to Save Money…Almost Immediately

 

 

The massive federal budget deficits of the last several years have resulted in an unprecedented increase

in our national debt. Since President Obama came to office, the national debt has soared from $10

trillion to nearly $16 trillion, a 50% increase. This uncontrolled federal spending and the accompanying

increase in the level of national debt cannot continue. Otherwise we will find ourselves in the same

situation as Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy and other countries whose massive social programmes

have led them to financial collapse. If we do not control the amount of federal spending, stop deficit

spending, and stop increasing the national debt, several things will ultimately happen. This isn’t

speculation, it is simply economic fact what will eventually happen:



1. Higher interest rates—as borrowing and debt increases, particularly since the US Treasury debt

has been downgraded for the first time in history, interest rates will eventually rise. Not only

will it cost more the Treasury to borrow money, individuals and businesses seeking bank loans,

mortgages, etc. will have higher borrowing costs.

2. Higher taxes—increased spending will result in higher taxes to fund the spending in addition to

the incursion of more debt

3. Lower economic growth—as rates rise and taxes rise, economic activity declines

4. Weaker dollar—Lower growth+Higher Taxes+Higher Interest Rates=Depreciation in the Dollar

5. Inflation—Continued accommodative monetary policy aimed at keeping rates low and

stimulating economic activity has massively increased the money supply. More dollars chasing

goods=inflation

 

If the President and the Congress are serious about reducing the deficit, it’s pretty simple—return the

budget to 2000 levels immediately. There’s absolutely no reason that the budget can’t be balanced

before 2020. Any politician who doesn’t support a return to 2000 spending levels isn’t serious about

cutting spending, eliminating the deficit, or reducing the national debt and should be voted out of

office. Would it be easy to revert to spending levels from 2000? No. Would it be painful for a lot of

government agencies and programmes? Yes. Can it be done? Yes. Would it be effective at eliminating

the deficit? Yes. If there a political will to do this in Washington, D.C.? No.

 

Remember, every dollar that the federal government spends, that is appropriated by members of the

Congress and approved by the President, is a dollar from the pocket of a working American or a business

that employs workers and creates jobs or is a dollar that is stolen from future generations of American

workers and taxpayers. Money doesn’t grow on trees. It comes from someone’s pocket. Borrowing the

money to fund spending is only robbing from Peter to pay Paul. Someone down the road will ultimately

have to foot the bill for spending today over which they may or may not have had any control or any

say.

 

In addition to reverting to 2000 spending levels, I’ve come up with a few additional ways that the federal

government could start saving money.


The first five ways were published last week and can be read by clicking here.



Here are five fresh ways...  ways 6-10!


#6  Federal workforce cuts

 

Federal workers are paid well and receive benefits that would be

the envy of most state workers and private sector employees. There are about 1.86 million

federal workers. The average pay is about $76,000. About 420,000 federal workers make

less than $50,000 and about 420,000 make more than $100,000. Just over 1,000,000 workers

make between $50,000 and $100,000. A lot of Americans would love to fall into one of these

categories. And, this doesn’t include generous benefits offered to federal workers such as the

Federal Employees Retirement System, Thrift Savings Plan, Federal Employees Health Benefits

Program (the Cadillac plan), Federal Employees Group Life Insurance, 13 days sick leave, 10

days paid holiday, up to 26 days of vacation based on years of service, Family Friendly Leave

Flexibilities, Recruitment Bonuses, Relocation Bonus, Retention Allowance, Student Loan

Repayment, Long Term Care Insurance Programs, and Child Care Subsidy Programs.

 

It is an insult to the American taxpayers that hard earned tax dollars are going to pay for federal

workers’ child care, particularly when the majority of the taxpayers have to foot the bill for their

own child care. And why should the American taxpayers repay student loans for government

workers? Look, these federal employees are, on average, making more than private sector

counterparts. Why should all of these benefits be paid for by the taxpayer in addition to these

very generous salaries? Let them pay for their own damn childcare and student loans just like

everyone else. It seems like the bureaucrats, and that’s what federal workers really are, get to

ride the gravy train at the taxpayers’ expense. Salaries for federal workers alone (excluding the

cost of benefits) costs each worker about $684 annually.
 

 

Federal workers can’t go crying poor mouth. The average state employee in the US makes

about $58,000. The average salary of federal workers at $76,000 is over 30% higher than state

workers, who make about $2,500 more annually than comparable private sector workers.

 

I’ve long advocated eliminating completely some federal departments like the Department of

Education, the Department of Labor, the Department of Energy, the Department of Agriculture,

just to name a few. These departments employee tens of thousands of federal workers, and

no one seems to know what they really do. The folks at the Department of Energy haven’t

solved our energy problems and dependence on foreign oil. The Department of Education isn’t

teaching our students, and so on. They don’t seem to be accomplishing much, so maybe we

should start with some personnel cuts in these departments?

 

But eliminating who departments probably isn’t going to happen overnight, so how about this

proposal? Let’s cut the entire federal workforce across the board by 3% OR cut all federal

employee pay by 6% OR reduce federal pay to state worker averages. What would this mean

in dollar terms? Eliminating 3% of the total federal bureaucracy would eliminate about 56,000

jobs at an average salary of $76,000, saving taxpayers about $4 billion annually. Cutting

all federal employee salaries by 6% (this doesn’t touch the issue of “benefits”) would save

taxpayers about $8.5 billion annually. Now, let’s say we cut federal salaries to the average state

worker salary of $58,000. That would say taxpayers a whopping $34 billion annually.

 

I don’t have a problem with people being paid well, but the pay for bureaucrats is, quite frankly,

ridiculous by any reasonable standards.

 

#7  Audit each department for fraudulent spending

 

Here’s a novel idea…let’s have the IRS

not only audit for Social Security, Medicare, and Welfare fraud but also audit each and every

department of the federal government. Remember the scandal at the GSA where the taxpayers

footed millions of dollars in wasteful spending, like the trip to Las Vegas? If the IRS had been

auditing the federal government, maybe the GSA wouldn’t have gotten away with this.

 

The GAO has, in fact, done some auditing of their own and determined that nearly half of all

purchases on government credit cards are improper, abusive, or fraudulent for things like

 

gambling, mortgage payments, liquor, iPods, Xboxes, jewelry, televisions, entertainment,

prostitutes, and vacations. Apparently, bureaucrats like to wine and dine on the taxpayer

dollar—one such dinner cost taxpayers $13,000 at a Ruth’s Chris in Orlando. And how about

the $146 million annually on flight upgrades to first class because some bureaucrats refuse to

fly coach? Where’s the accountability? Purchases on federal credit cards total over $18 billion

annually. If roughly half of these purchases are classified at improper, abusive, or fraudulent,

this costs taxpayers $9 billion annually or about $43 per worker annually. It sort of like each

worker in America buying a federal employee a dinner at Ruth’s Chris each year. How do you

feel about this?

 

#8  Eliminate ineffective or redundant programmes

 

Numerous studies have concluded that there

is a tremendous amount of overlap or redundancy in federal programmes and a high degree of

inefficiency in federal programmes.

 

First, the GAO did a study a few years back that indicated duplication in over 300 economic

programmes, over 100 programmes for at-risk youth, 100 programmes for the disabled, and so

on. These are all duplicate programmes being handled by difference departments or agencies

within the federal government. It makes no sense for multiple departments to be handling

similar programmes. Consolidate them and reduce the overlap and redundancy.

 

Second, the administration of President George W. Bush reviewed over 1,000 different federal

programmes and found that about 20% are either classified as ineffective or results not

demonstrated such as the IRS Earned Income Tax Credit Compliance, Workforce Investment Act,

Trade Adjustment Assistance, Juvenile Accountability Block Grants, AmeriCorps National Civilian

Community Corps, just to name a few. Does anyone actually know what these programmes are

or what they do or what they hope to accomplish?

 

It sounds like these programmes are just a waste of taxpayer money. If they’re ineffective or

if the results aren’t sufficient to be noticeably measurable, they’re probably not doing what

they were intended to do. Pull the plug on them and quit wasting money! In fact, duplicate

programmes or ineffective programmes cost taxpayers over $120 billion annually. That’s about

$580 per worker each year. It certainly seems like these programmes are only intended to give

some bureaucrats a job or the opportunity to misappropriate taxpayer funds.

 

#9  Close overseas military bases

 

Did you know that the US military has more than 700 bases

overseas (not including those in Afghanistan)? These bases cost money to operate. They

aren’t free. There are utilities, maintenance and repairs, rent, etc. In addition, these bases are

concentrated in places where we don’t need to be. There are about 200 bases in Germany,

over 100 in Japan, and over 80 in South Korea. We don’t need to be in Europe. Germany isn’t

going to rise up again and try to take over France. There are some estimates that these bases

overseas cost US taxpayers over $100 billion annually to operate and maintain. Really? Do

we really need to be spending taxpayer money to maintain and operate bases in places that

 

aren’t in danger anymore and that don’t have a strategic value in this day and age? World War

II is over. The Cold War is over. Let’s get out of these places, close the bases, and bring our

troops back home. They can be redeployed to protecting our border and guarding our airports,

nuclear facilities, ports, etc. We’ve got about 81,000 active servicemen and women in Europe

alone! Keep one base with a skeleton crew and bring the rest home. Do you know what kind of

economic boost we would get with 75,000 troops along the border with Mexico? These service

personnel with combined salaries of well over $1 billion would be spending money here in the

United States not in Germany or Italy or anywhere else in Europe. Putting the money into our

economy is a whole lot better for us!

 

Closing a number of overseas bases and bringing the troops home won’t weaken our military.

I’m not suggesting we reduce the size of the military. I’m merely suggesting we close the bases

overseas and redeploy the troops to more strategically advantageous locations—like our border

with Mexico.

 

At $100 billion annually to operate the overseas bases, the 207 million workers in the US are

each paying about $483 per year to keep these bases open. Is it worth it?

 

#10  Sell off government owned properties

Even the Obama administration has realized that

the federal government has a lot of excess properties—about 14,000 unused or underused

properties to be exact. Some government estimates suggest maintaining these properties

costs taxpayers over $1 billion annually. Other estimates suggest the cost of unused federal

properties is upwards of $25 billion annually. The Department of Defense, for example, may be

spending $3 billion annually on maintenance of unused buildings.

 

The simple fact is that the federal government has a lot of property and it isn’t managing its real

estate assets very well. If the building isn’t being used, why keep it and maintain it? Sell it if you

can and get some money for it, or if it’s in an area that would have to be remediated, demolish

it and eliminate the annual maintenance expense. If the federal government has over 1 billion

square feet of excess space, why not consolidate offices as much as possible?

 

If you have two buildings that are half empty, you’re paying utilities for both buildings,

maintenance, etc. Consolidate operations into one building, shut the other building down, save

on the utilities of the empty building, and then sell it. If you have two homes and you can only

live in one of them and you can’t afford to let the other one sit empty, you have a couple of

options: sell the second home or rent it out. In either case, you’re converting an asset that is

only incurring expenses into one that has generated a lump sum of cash or monthly cash flow

from rental income.

 

Evidently, the federal government isn’t concerned about that. Of course, it’s easy to spend

other people’s money. These excess federal properties or unused federal properties are costing

each American worker somewhere between $5 and $121 per year.

 

Conclusion

 

The federal government wastes massive amounts of taxpayer money annually on improper payments,

fraud, simple waste, excessive salaries for federal workers (not including the generous benefits

packages), redundancies, foreign aid, etc. The aforementioned areas where the federal government

could start saving money almost immediately are costing the average American worker about $2,000

per year. The IRS has a lot of tenacious employees who would just love to dig into federal departments

and audit their expenditures. Let’s have the IRS focus on investigating this type of fraud as well. Isn’t

it time we turn the tables and make government departments across the board accountable for the

money they are spending? This isn’t their money. It’s money that belongs to each and every taxpayer

in America. There is a pervasive lack of concern or lack of caring about waste and fraud in the federal

government by employees of government agencies. After all, it’s easy to spend money that isn’t yours,

particularly when there is little or no accountability. It’s like the fox guarding the henhouse. Any federal

agency or department that is spending taxpayer money has a fiduciary responsibility to the American

taxpayer to make sure that money isn’t wasted or misappropriated or fraudulently spent.



~Digger

 

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10 Ways for the Federal Government to Save Money…Almost Immediately - Part 1

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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10 Ways for the Federal Government to Save Money…Almost Immediately

 

 

 

The massive federal budget deficits of the last several years have resulted in an unprecedented increase

in our national debt. Since President Obama came to office, the national debt has soared from $10

trillion to nearly $16 trillion, a 50% increase. This uncontrolled federal spending and the accompanying

increase in the level of national debt cannot continue. Otherwise we will find ourselves in the same

situation as Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy and other countries whose massive social programmes

have led them to financial collapse. If we do not control the amount of federal spending, stop deficit

spending, and stop increasing the national debt, several things will ultimately happen. This isn’t

speculation, it is simply economic fact what will eventually happen:

 

1. Higher interest rates—as borrowing and debt increases, particularly since the US Treasury debt

has been downgraded for the first time in history, interest rates will eventually rise. Not only

will it cost more the Treasury to borrow money, individuals and businesses seeking bank loans,

mortgages, etc. will have higher borrowing costs.

2. Higher taxes—increased spending will result in higher taxes to fund the spending in addition to

the incursion of more debt

3. Lower economic growth—as rates rise and taxes rise, economic activity declines

4. Weaker dollar—Lower growth+Higher Taxes+Higher Interest Rates=Depreciation in the Dollar

5. Inflation—Continued accommodative monetary policy aimed at keeping rates low and

stimulating economic activity has massively increased the money supply. More dollars chasing

goods=inflation

 

If the President and the Congress are serious about reducing the deficit, it’s pretty simple—return the

budget to 2000 levels immediately. There’s absolutely no reason that the budget can’t be balanced

before 2020. Any politician who doesn’t support a return to 2000 spending levels isn’t serious about

cutting spending, eliminating the deficit, or reducing the national debt and should be voted out of

office. Would it be easy to revert to spending levels from 2000? No. Would it be painful for a lot of

government agencies and programmes? Yes. Can it be done? Yes. Would it be effective at eliminating

the deficit? Yes. If there a political will to do this in Washington, D.C.? No.

 

Remember, every dollar that the federal government spends, that is appropriated by members of the

Congress and approved by the President, is a dollar from the pocket of a working American or a business

that employs workers and creates jobs or is a dollar that is stolen from future generations of American

workers and taxpayers. Money doesn’t grow on trees. It comes from someone’s pocket. Borrowing the

money to fund spending is only robbing from Peter to pay Paul. Someone down the road will ultimately

have to foot the bill for spending today over which they may or may not have had any control or any

say.

 

In addition to reverting to 2000 spending levels, I’ve come up with a few additional ways that the federal

government could start saving money.

 

#1    Eliminate fraud in Social Security

 

Various estimates place improper payments of Social

Security benefits at over $8 billion annually. This could come in several forms such as continuing

to issue checks to dead people or people simply cheating the system. You wouldn’t think that

checks keep getting sent to dead people, but if their death isn’t properly reported to the Social

Security Administration, the checks keep coming. People are milking the system and robbing

from the Social Security Trust and every American worker and taxpayer. Review annually the

database, do cross checks, or have some computer programmer write a program that enables

searches of public death certificates, Social Security numbers, etc. to eliminate the fraud and

waste from paying dead people.

 

In addition, there are far too many instances where strung out and burned out druggies have

found some doctor to say they aren’t able to work or they have some mental deficiency that

prohibits them from working so they need to collect disability insurance. If you don’t think this

happens, go sit at the local Social Security Administration office for a week or two and check out

who’s coming in there. If these people are as messed up as their doctors say they are, I don’t

think they should be roaming the streets. They should be in institutions collecting their checks

and using it to pay for their care and treatment in the institution.

 

With roughly 207 million insured workers, the $8 billion improper payments are costing each

worker about $39 per year.

 

#2  Investigate Medicare Fraud

 

Just as there are improper payments in Social Security benefits,

there are massive amounts of Medicare fraud resulting in over $48 billion in improper payments

annually (not including any improper payments associated with the Part D prescription drug

benefits). The biggest perpetuators of Medicare fraud are healthcare providers who bill

Medicare multiple times, bill for products not delivered or services not rendered, bill for

medically unnecessary services or procedures, misrepresent services, falsify cost reports,

increasing units of service, kickbacks, and other fraud that results in overpayments or improper

payments. Why not put the IRS to good use and audit any healthcare provider that has received

a payment from Medicare? I bet the IRS would recover a good portion of these improper

payments.

 

In addition, if you read the statement by Kathleen King, Director of Health Care, United States

Government Accountability Office, in testimony before the Subcommittee on Oversite and

Investigations, Committee on Energy and Commerce, from March 2, 2011, it sounds like

the Medicare system is plagued by numerous management challenges that enable this type

of waste and fraud. If the people overseeing the Medicare programme are not competent

to do so, get rid of them and get someone in there who can do the job, put the controls in

place, and provide the proper oversight so that billions of taxpayer and workers’ dollars aren’t

misappropriated. With the technology we have today, it is inconceivable that we aren’t able to

better track payments, etc. to eliminate waste.

 

This fraud costs each worker in America about $232 annually.

 

#3  Welfare Fraud

 

Ronald Reagan once referenced welfare queens driving welfare Cadillacs. He

wasn’t far off the mark. We’ve all seen welfare recipients who have multiple children so they

can get more welfare money. They see each child as a new check. These women are nothing

more than baby mills, pumping out kids so they can milk the system for a bigger welfare check

and more food stamps. While this is just plain wrong and a major abuse of the system, it

doesn’t really constitute fraud. While we need to make disincentives for welfare recipients

to have more kids, we also need to investigate welfare fraud whereby ineligible recipients are

receiving benefits or are using food stamps for items like beer or cigarettes. We’ve all seen

someone in the grocery store, usually with a couple of kids in tow, using food stamps to buy

beer or cigarettes DESPITE FEDERAL LAW AGAINST THIS. The stores don’t care, because they’re

not going to get caught because no one is investigating this type of fraud. As an alternative,

food stamp recipients can sell their food stamps or their food stamp card for cash which can

then be used for the purchase of cigarettes or alcohol. Is this really what we want food stamps,

funded by our tax dollars, to be used for? I don’t think so. In this regard, perhaps we should

reform the food stamp programme so that food stamp monies are used to fund local food

banks for welfare recipients. Each recipient can go to the food bank and receive their weekly or

monthly ration of foods—rice, canned goods, etc. It shouldn’t be hard to keep track of welfare

beneficiaries in a computer system to allocate the food.

 

In any event, welfare programmes (not including unemployment) cost taxpayers about $335

billion annually. Statistics on actual fraud are scant to be found, but there are estimates of fraud

ranging from 2-3%. I personally think this underestimates the level of fraud which is more likely

somewhere in the range of 5-7%. What does this mean in dollar terms? At 3%, welfare fraud

costs taxpayers about $10 billion annually. At 5%, welfare fraud costs taxpayers $16.7 billion

annually. So, let’s just say this costs the average worker somewhere between $48 and $81

annually.

 

Now, let’s consider the unemployment benefits fraud. According to the GAO, improper or

fraudulent unemployment benefit payments cost taxpayers about $4 billion annually or about

$19 per worker annually.

 

#4  Farm Subsidy Fraud

 

I’ve advocated for years that we need to end all farm subsidies completely

and permanently. Why should we be paying farmers to keep their fields fallow while we buy

produce from other countries. I have a serious problem that we pay farmers not to grow crops

then buy produce like lettuce, green onions, and strawberries from places like Mexico with very

lax standards for sanitation, etc. This is how we end up having salmonella and other sickness

outbreaks from eating tainted food brought in from other countries. I don’t think we even

grow pineapples in Hawaii anymore; they’re imported from Central and South America. We

spend something like $15 billion annually on farm subsidies. A GAO report from a couple years

ago indicated that the USDA paid over $1.1 billion in subsidies over six years to 170,000 dead

people! The GAO estimates that fraudulent farm subsidies cost taxpayer about $500 million

 

annually. While the fraudulent payments at this level cost each worker about $2 annually, the

entire programme costs workers about $72 annually.



#5  Foreign Aid

 

Did you know that the federal government spends over $50 billion annually on

foreign aid? That’s right $50 billion of your tax dollars goes to people overseas. For example,

this year’s budget includes $770 million for a Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund. They

hate us. How about $2.4 billion for Pakistan? They hate us too. How about $600 million for

Educational and Cultural Exchange Programs? Really? How about $1.6 billion for Contributions

to International Organizations (such as the UN)? That’s a waste. And how about the $6 billion

for the Economic Support Fund that gives $289 million to South Sudan, $105 million to Liberia,

$50 million to Democratic Republic of Congo, $38 million to Sudan, $24 million to Zimbabwe,

$250 million to Egypt, $70 million to Lebanon, $38 million to Yemen, $141 million to Haiti, $15

million to Cuba. A lot of those countries hate us and we’re just throwing good money after bad.

Anything we give to those countries is likely being misappropriated to dictators, warlords, or

people who hate us. Democracy in those countries? We’re only fooling ourselves.

 

And how about $250 million for forgiving debt that other countries owe us? Anyone forgiving

our debt? Don’t think so.

 

Personally, I think we should be taking care of our own problems here in the United States and

our own people first. If private fundraising organizations want to raise private donations to give

to these countries and these causes, great! Otherwise, they can do without until we have all our

own affairs in order. The government shouldn’t be squandering our hard earned tax dollars on

other countries until our financial house is in order.

 

If you’re one of the 207 million workers in the US who are paying taxes, foreign aid costs you

about $242 annually. Does it make you feel good to know that this money is being given to

other countries that hate us? 


 

Keep an eye on the blog, I've got more to say!
~Digger


 

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7 Ways To Fix The Economy - #7 US Offshore Oil

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
User is currently offline
on Saturday, 30 June 2012
in Digger Cartwright

7 Ways to Fix the Economy

 

 

Anyone with half a brain can see that the U.S. economy is in a malaise. It’s just muddling along.

Unemployment is still high. Economic growth is low. Prices are rising for goods and services (just think

gas prices and food prices). Job creation is low (people you know that have been unemployed are still

unemployed). Small businesses are still struggling to survive given decreased demand and tight credit.

The real estate market is in the tank; house prices are still falling and foreclosures are likely to spike

this year. The banks are still in trouble, despite what the Fed says and does. Federal budget deficits

continue to be the norm, requiring additional increased in the national debt. There’s still a risk to the

U.S. economy from the economic crises in Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy and so on. All of these factors

paint a pretty bleak picture for the health of the economy.

 

I wholeheartedly believe that the U.S. economy is on the brink of a double dip recession. I would even

argue that the current environment is still recessionary even if it doesn’t meet the technical definition

of a recession. I suspect if you’re one of the millions of Americans struggling right now you’d probably

agree with that. If you’re doing well, you probably haven’t been impacted too much or noticed what

everyone else is going through. Sadly, it’s a situation of those that have a job prosper while those who

don’t have a job suffer, which on a side note is a sad reflection on President Obama’s class warfare

strategy that is attempting to divide this country. While we may not be able to stop the economy from

slipping back into a recession in the short term, we can take some actions to fix the economy for the mid

and long term horizons. I think there are seven actions that need to be taken to get the economy back

on track:


To read the previous 6 fixes, click on each link:

#1  Lower Taxes

#2  Cut Federal Spending

#3  Abolish Minimum Wage

#4  Confidence in Leadership & Administration

#5   Massive Infrastructure

#6  War




Fix #7:  US Offshore Oil

 

Oil reserves off the United States’ coastlines have been estimated

anywhere from 80 billion barrels and up. Why haven’t we been tapping into this? Liberals

and environmentalists, and I would remind you that they’re the ones who would scoff at my

recommendation we go to war with Iran and also the same ones who said President Bush went

to war with Iraq to get their oil. But these are also the same people complaining about high

gas prices when they go to fill up their gas guzzling vehicles and who wouldn’t dare think of

giving up driving in favor of public transportation. We need to tell these people to go to hell and

open up drilling anywhere and everywhere for national security purposes. Not only will we free

America from its dependence on foreign oil, but we will also spur massive investment in drilling

activities that will require jobs and ancillary services and businesses. If the Keystone Pipeline

project was going to create anywhere from 20,000 to 250,000 jobs, can you imagine how many

jobs would be created by drilling of the eastern seaboard or the coast of California? Do you

think that would get the economy going? Sure. And in addition, the federal government would

stand to reap massive financial windfalls which could be earmarked to pay down the national

debt. Sound like a win-win situation to me.



~ Digger


 

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7 Ways To Fix The Economy - #6 War

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
User is currently offline
on Saturday, 30 June 2012
in Digger Cartwright

7 Ways to Fix the Economy

 

Anyone with half a brain can see that the U.S. economy is in a malaise. It’s just muddling along.

Unemployment is still high. Economic growth is low. Prices are rising for goods and services (just think

gas prices and food prices). Job creation is low (people you know that have been unemployed are still

unemployed). Small businesses are still struggling to survive given decreased demand and tight credit.

The real estate market is in the tank; house prices are still falling and foreclosures are likely to spike

this year. The banks are still in trouble, despite what the Fed says and does. Federal budget deficits

continue to be the norm, requiring additional increased in the national debt. There’s still a risk to the

U.S. economy from the economic crises in Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy and so on. All of these factors

paint a pretty bleak picture for the health of the economy.

 

I wholeheartedly believe that the U.S. economy is on the brink of a double dip recession. I would even

argue that the current environment is still recessionary even if it doesn’t meet the technical definition

of a recession. I suspect if you’re one of the millions of Americans struggling right now you’d probably

agree with that. If you’re doing well, you probably haven’t been impacted too much or noticed what

everyone else is going through. Sadly, it’s a situation of those that have a job prosper while those who

don’t have a job suffer, which on a side note is a sad reflection on President Obama’s class warfare

strategy that is attempting to divide this country. While we may not be able to stop the economy from

slipping back into a recession in the short term, we can take some actions to fix the economy for the mid

and long term horizons. I think there are seven actions that need to be taken to get the economy back

on track:


To Read My other Blog posts, click on each corresponding 'fix'

#1   Lower Taxes

#2  Cut Federal Spending

#3  Abolish Minimum Wage

#4  Confidence in Leadership & Administration

#5  Massive Infrastructure



Fix #6: War



Nothing gets an economy going quite like a good old-fashioned war. Unfortunately, wars

are expensive both in terms of financial and human resources. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq

really stimulated the economy earlier in the decade, but it required a good deal of spending

and with little financial gain. If we’re going to have a war that pays for itself, we need to get

something out of the other side. In the case of Iraq, we should have taken their oil. Oh, wait

a minute, the liberals thought that was the whole intention of going to war with Iraq and they

demonized President Bush for it. Did we get any of the vast oil reserves in Iraq? No. Has it help

us in any way financially? No.

 

If we want a war that stimulates our economy and pays for itself, let’s take on Iran. We can

go in and wipe them out pretty easily. We make Iran the territory of East Virginia, take total

control of the area, and take the oil for ourselves. Let’s see, Iran has something like 150 billion

barrels of proven oil reserves. At $100 per barrel that’s something like $15 trillion dollars. It

wouldn’t cost nearly that much to take out the regime of Iran and take over the oil fields. So,

let’s see, we become energy independent, gas prices fall, the war machine creates jobs, we can

gradually pay off debt in America, and overall the economy gets going. How does that sound? 



~Digger

 

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7 Ways To Fix The Economy - #5 Massive Infrastructure

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 27 June 2012
in Digger Cartwright

7 Ways to Fix the Economy

 

Anyone with half a brain can see that the U.S. economy is in a malaise. It’s just muddling along.

Unemployment is still high. Economic growth is low. Prices are rising for goods and services (just think

gas prices and food prices). Job creation is low (people you know that have been unemployed are still

unemployed). Small businesses are still struggling to survive given decreased demand and tight credit.

The real estate market is in the tank; house prices are still falling and foreclosures are likely to spike

this year. The banks are still in trouble, despite what the Fed says and does. Federal budget deficits

continue to be the norm, requiring additional increased in the national debt. There’s still a risk to the

U.S. economy from the economic crises in Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy and so on. All of these factors

paint a pretty bleak picture for the health of the economy.

 

I wholeheartedly believe that the U.S. economy is on the brink of a double dip recession. I would even

argue that the current environment is still recessionary even if it doesn’t meet the technical definition

of a recession. I suspect if you’re one of the millions of Americans struggling right now you’d probably

agree with that. If you’re doing well, you probably haven’t been impacted too much or noticed what

everyone else is going through. Sadly, it’s a situation of those that have a job prosper while those who

don’t have a job suffer, which on a side note is a sad reflection on President Obama’s class warfare

strategy that is attempting to divide this country. While we may not be able to stop the economy from

slipping back into a recession in the short term, we can take some actions to fix the economy for the mid

and long term horizons. I think there are seven actions that need to be taken to get the economy back

on track:


#1  Lower Taxes

#2  Cut Federal Spending

#3  Abolish Minimum Wage

#4  Confidence in Leadership & Administration

Massive Infrastructure

 

 

Infrastructure projects are great. We do need to have some massive

infrastructure projects, and I don’t think that should be limited to roads. We need to be looking

at infrastructure in terms of rail, power grids, hydroelectric power generation, wind farms,

bridges, nuclear facilities, ports, oil development, and research facilities.

 

The Chinese are making massive investments in infrastructure. They spent $900 million on

the Tianhuangping hydroelectric project. They’re spending $6.3 billion on the Xiangjiaba

Hydropower project, $5 billion on the Shanghai-Hangzhou maglev railway, $7 billion on the

Xiludou Dam, $14 billion on the Harbin-Dalian Highspeed Railway, $18 billion on the Jiuquan

wind farm, $33 billion on the Beijing Shanghai Highspeed Railway, and $44 billion on building

highways to connect China, India, Southeast Asia, and Europe. Look at what these projects

mean and look at what we’re doing here in America. We’re falling way behind.

 

The I-73 project is a highway project that would go from Michigan to South Carolina. They’ve

been talking about this for decades, and it still isn’t done. When it comes to roads, we need

to get on it. We need a lot of road projects to make the flow of goods and people a lot easier

throughout the entire United States. Let’s expand I-95, I-10, I-40, and all the major highways.

If they’re six lanes now, let’s make them ten lanes. Let’s go ahead and start getting ahead of

the curve. Our population is going to continue to grow, creating more strains on the ability to

move goods and people easily. Let’s get the road projects going. Have crews working twenty-

four hours a day seven days a week if we have to, but let’s get them done. It wouldn’t take the

Chinese decades to build a road. And while we’re on transportation, let’s work on expanding

our ports. We’re going to have more and more goods coming into the United States, so let’s get

ready for it.

 

While we’re expanding our road systems, let’s go ahead and spend money on a high speed

 

railway that connects east and west and north and south. Not only would we be able to more

efficiently move goods and people but we would alleviate congestion on our roads and in our

skies. It should be a pretty easy concept; have the high speed railway follow the major highways

and branch off to other markets as well. Let’s get the project built quickly. Let’s not wait years.

And I’m not talking about the rail to nowhere out in California that people in L.A. need to drive

over 100 miles to get to before boarding to go to Las Vegas. That project isn’t going to do a bit

of good.

 

Let’s work on some wind farms and hydroelectric power projects and on updating our power

grid. Let’s work on offshore drilling, open up ANWR in Alaska, and build the Keystone Pipeline.

 

But let me throw in another idea with all this. Let’s privatize some of this. We can’t privatize

all of it, but we can certainly privatize a good deal of it. The projects that are worthwhile will

get funding from the private capital markets; those that aren’t won’t fly. Infrastructure has

long been an industry on which governments have monopolies. There are numerous examples

throughout the world of private infrastructure projects from toll roads and bridges to ports to

power plants to railroads. Privatized projects would get built in a fraction of the time as federal

projects.

 

We need to get on these infrastructure projects now—not tomorrow, not the next day, not next

year, not five years from now. We’re getting farther and farther behind. There’s a much larger

public good to be served by doing all these projects. We need to have the courage to just move

these projects forward and to hell with the lawsuits and the protests and the years of studies.

Let’s streamline the whole approval process. It’s embarrassing that the world’s superpower has

an antiquated infrastructure system. 


~ Digger

 

 

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7 Ways To Fix The Economy - #4 Confidence In Leadership and Administration

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
User is currently offline
on Monday, 25 June 2012
in Digger Cartwright

7 Ways to Fix the Economy

 

 

Anyone with half a brain can see that the U.S. economy is in a malaise. It’s just muddling along.

Unemployment is still high. Economic growth is low. Prices are rising for goods and services (just think

gas prices and food prices). Job creation is low (people you know that have been unemployed are still

unemployed). Small businesses are still struggling to survive given decreased demand and tight credit.

The real estate market is in the tank; house prices are still falling and foreclosures are likely to spike

this year. The banks are still in trouble, despite what the Fed says and does. Federal budget deficits

continue to be the norm, requiring additional increased in the national debt. There’s still a risk to the

U.S. economy from the economic crises in Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy and so on. All of these factors

paint a pretty bleak picture for the health of the economy.

 

I wholeheartedly believe that the U.S. economy is on the brink of a double dip recession. I would even

argue that the current environment is still recessionary even if it doesn’t meet the technical definition

of a recession. I suspect if you’re one of the millions of Americans struggling right now you’d probably

agree with that. If you’re doing well, you probably haven’t been impacted too much or noticed what

everyone else is going through. Sadly, it’s a situation of those that have a job prosper while those who

don’t have a job suffer, which on a side note is a sad reflection on President Obama’s class warfare

strategy that is attempting to divide this country. While we may not be able to stop the economy from

slipping back into a recession in the short term, we can take some actions to fix the economy for the mid

and long term horizons. I think there are seven actions that need to be taken to get the economy back

on track:


Read #1 here:  Lower Taxes

Read #2 here:  Cut Federal Spending

Read #3 here:  Abolish Minimum Wage


Confidence in Leadership and Administration

 

 

America has a real crisis in confidence in our

elected leaders in the Congress and the President. I think it’s pretty clear that President Obama

and the Democrats in the Congress don’t really know anything about the economy. The Senate

can’t even pass a budget on its own. Collectively, President Obama and the Democrats have

embarked on economically destructive policies since 2008. Their anti-coal, anti-oil, and anti-

drilling energy policies have resulted in higher utility prices and higher gas prices throughout

the nation. In essence, they’ve created another tax on consumers. They’ve wasted billions

of dollars for green projects that have gone bust and refuse to abandon those failed policies.

They’ve continued to spend like drunken sailors, with the President presiding over the first

downgrade of U.S. debt in history and the largest increase in the national debt in history.

Obamacare was rammed down the throats of the American taxpayers with massive stealth tax

increases on businesses. Quite simply, American business has lost confidence in the President

and the Congress. If there were a vote of no confidence, these clowns would be out.

 

It’s clear that businesses are reluctant to hire and expand if they’re going to be forced

 

to pay for healthcare for employees which will increase their costs in an already price

competitive environment. In addition, what incentive do businesses have if they’re going to

be taxed to death for being more successful? With no financial or economic credibility, the

Administration isn’t able to effectively lead and instill confidence in businesses and taxpayers.

This Administration doesn’t do anything to inspire innovation and entrepreneurship. This

Administration does nothing but create uncertainty regarding the future, which is a major

disincentive for businesses to plan expansionary projects. America needs strong leadership

in the President and the Congress, leadership that knows what it takes to foster a prosperous

business environment where businesses can have certainty to expand and make investments

and increase payrolls. America needs strong leadership that can get the financial house of the

federal government in order and stop the self destructive economic policies that result in our

becoming more indebted, less creditworthy, and less competitive.

 

How to we resolve this? Vote them out of office in 2012 to start, then put massive pressure on

all elected leaders to address the issues that are holding back an economic recovery. 



~Digger


 

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7 Ways To Fix The Economy - #3 Abolish Minimum Wage

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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on Thursday, 21 June 2012
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7 Ways to Fix the Economy

 

Anyone with half a brain can see that the U.S. economy is in a malaise. It’s just muddling along.

Unemployment is still high. Economic growth is low. Prices are rising for goods and services (just think

gas prices and food prices). Job creation is low (people you know that have been unemployed are still

unemployed). Small businesses are still struggling to survive given decreased demand and tight credit.

The real estate market is in the tank; house prices are still falling and foreclosures are likely to spike

this year. The banks are still in trouble, despite what the Fed says and does. Federal budget deficits

continue to be the norm, requiring additional increased in the national debt. There’s still a risk to the

U.S. economy from the economic crises in Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy and so on. All of these factors

paint a pretty bleak picture for the health of the economy.

 

I wholeheartedly believe that the U.S. economy is on the brink of a double dip recession. I would even

argue that the current environment is still recessionary even if it doesn’t meet the technical definition

of a recession. I suspect if you’re one of the millions of Americans struggling right now you’d probably

agree with that. If you’re doing well, you probably haven’t been impacted too much or noticed what

everyone else is going through. Sadly, it’s a situation of those that have a job prosper while those who

don’t have a job suffer, which on a side note is a sad reflection on President Obama’s class warfare

strategy that is attempting to divide this country. While we may not be able to stop the economy from

slipping back into a recession in the short term, we can take some actions to fix the economy for the mid

and long term horizons. I think there are seven actions that need to be taken to get the economy back

on track:
To read the first two way, follow the links below:


#1 - Lower Taxes

#2 - Cut Federal Spending



#3 - Abolish minimum wage

 

 

In case you haven’t noticed, manufacturing in America is dying a slow

death. Look at the textile industry in the South, for example. Why did the textile manufacturers

close up? They couldn’t compete with manufacturers in low wage countries like Mexico and

China. We will never be able to compete with low wage countries as long as we have price

controls in place when it comes to labor. If manufacturers want to compete, we need to abolish

the minimum wage. Manufacturers can offer jobs at two dollars an hour as opposed to eight

dollars an hour. That would help to start narrowing the competitive gap between low wage

producers and those here in America. Hell, we allow waitresses to work for $2.15 an hour plus

tips. Why shouldn’t employers be allowed to offer jobs to anyone at that rate?

 

Of course, I’m also against collective bargaining when it comes to wages as well. Unions have

been some of the worst offenders when it comes to labor markets. Why are the U.S. auto

companies so uncompetitive against foreign manufacturers? Labor costs. So, I guess I’m not

just picking on the minimum wage but I’m focusing on artificially created wages for labor.

 

Now, I’ve heard this argument for a long time that an abolition of the minimum wage would

hurt the worker. Look, there was a time in life when I had to work two jobs. If that’s what it

takes for people to survive, so be it. There’s nothing wrong with hard work. And guess what,

if you don’t want to work for a low wage, you can simply say ‘No.’ Why do you think there

aren’t ushers in the movie theaters anymore? Minimum wage. Why don’t we have full service

gas stations? Minimum wage. Doormen? Minimum wage. Why are call centers in India?

Minimum wage.

 

Here’s the reality. The minimum wage costs the economy thousands of jobs; any good

economist will tell you that. The minimum wage prevents businesses from being competitive.

The minimum wage gives companies a reason to outsource jobs. The minimum wage causes

businesses to find ways to automate, mechanize, or otherwise eliminate positions. It’s not very

palatable, but the benefits far outweigh the negatives of this. Abolish the minimum wage, the

economy will create jobs in untold numbers, and ultimately, the market will set wages. 



~ Digger

 

 

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Digger Observes Obesity in America

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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Obesity in America

 

In the past week, I’ve been in three situations that have given me cause to think about a crisis plaguing

America—obesity. This past week I’ve had more than my share of fat people. I’m not talking about

the chunky people who could lose a few pounds. I’m talking about the really obese people. You know,

the ones you see and think to yourself, “Damn, put down the fork, fat ass.” You know, the ones who

have more rolls that your local bakery. Now, don’t get me wrong. I know a lot of overweight and obese

people, and I’m not trying to say that they’re not good people. In fact, they’re some of the best people I

know, and they can live their life however they want. But there comes a point that when their obesity is

encroaching on me that I have a serious problem with it.

 

First, on the plane, I get stuck next to an obese woman. As you may know, the seats in first class are

significantly wider than those in coach. Didn’t matter in this case. She comes waddling in and plops

down in her chair next to me and her fat starts to encroach over the arm rest into my personal space.

So, now I don’t have one arm rest, and it’s going to be virtually impossible to get up if I have to go to

the lavatory. And I guess the worst part is that she smelled. I know that you know exactly what I’m

referring to. These very obese people have a problem with personal hygiene. Now, my issue is that the

airline didn’t make her purchase two seats. Their argument is that the seats are wider in first class so

she didn’t have to. I guess that reminds me exactly why I don’t generally fly commercial. I guess I need

to get a bigger jet of my own for the longer flights.

 

Second, I went to a live WWE pay-per-view event in Raleigh. It was Over the Limit. Everyone’s there

to have a good time, including me. Well, it was just my luck that the obese man had the chair next to

me. Unfortunately, the chair there at ringside was just a standard chair, not an extra wide one like on

the plane, so he’s immediately violating my personal space. Here’s someone that should have had at

least two if not three chairs to accommodate himself. I got to talking to him, and he was a very pleasant

individual. I don’t think he really realized he was inconveniencing me, but he was. I let it go and tried

to have a good time, but it’s quite uncomfortable when you’ve got someone virtually pushing you out of

your own seat toward the person next to you. Oh, and he did smell as well.

 

Finally, I was walking around EPCOT at Walt Disney World in Orlando, enjoying the Flower and Garden

Festival. You would not believe the number of obese people who where there. I’m talking kids, adults,

old folks. The kids are waddling around shoving their faces with junk food and sucking up sodas. The

adults are gorging themselves with food and sodas. It’s a horrible display of human behavior and health

or lifestyle. But what really got me about this was that most of them were riding around in their little

scooters. They’re too damn fat and lazy to walk! So, they’re riding around forcing their way through a

crowd with their scooters and running into people. Really people? Put down the fork, get off your fat

ass, and walk. Get some exercise for a change.

 

But I got to thinking and I realized that the imposition of obese people doesn’t end with their physical

presence. There’s much more to it. The 36% of the US population that is obese cost all the rest of us

(who are not obese) financially. That’s right. They cost each and every one of us to the tune of about

$150 billion annually in healthcare costs. Most of this cost to treat obesity related health issues is borne

by Medicare and Medicaid. And who pays for that? Each and every worker and taxpayer. And how

about these facts from researchers at RTI International, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality,

and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

 

  • Obesity is responsible for 9.1% of annual medical costs.
  • The medical costs for an obese person are 42% higher than for persons of normal weight. This equates to an additional $1,429 per year in healthcare costs.
  • Medicare prescription drug payments for obese recipients are about $600 per year higher than for normal weight recipients.
  • Obesity accounts for 8.5% of Medicare expenditure and 11.8% of Medicaid expenditure and 12.9% of private insurance expenditure."

 

 

And guess what?


Obesity contributes to higher health insurance premiums for me and you, even

though we’re not overweight. How is that possible? Private health insurers base rates on statistics

from mortality tables including age, gender, location and smoking habits. Weight may or may not be a

factor in determining the premium you pay, especially if you’re part of a group policy! So, if you’re of

average weight, you may be paying the same premium as someone who weighs over 300 pounds! Thus,

when your insurance company has disproportionate payouts for obese individuals and treating their

health issues (diabetes, heart disease, etc.), you get to share the financial burden. Higher outlays for the

insurance company equals higher premiums for everyone.

 

What’s the solution?

 

Simple. Better diet and exercise. As a society, we’re eating way too many

processed foods and fast food. We’re eating larger portions, and we’re not getting any exercise. Cut

out the high sugar foods and junk food. Replace one soda per day with a glass of water. Get a little

exercise. You don’t have to run a marathon or anything, but do something. Don’t just sit around and

play video games . Take a walk. It’s easy. Put down the fork and get up off your ass.



~Digger


 

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6 Signs You’re a Subversive - Part 2

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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6 Signs You’re a Subversive

 

First, I think it’s appropriate for this article to make the distinction between communism, socialism, and

social democracy. Second, it’s necessary to define subversive to understand how this relates to the

topic at hand. All definitions come from www.wikipedia.com.

 

Communism is a revolutionary socialist movement to create a classless, moneyless, and stateless social

order structured upon common ownership of the means of production, as well as a social, political and

economic ideology that aims at the establishment of this social order. According to communist theory,

the only way to abolish capitalist inequalities is to have the proletariat (working class), who collectively

constitute the main producer of wealth in society, and who are perpetually exploited and marginalised

by the bourgeoisie (wealthy class), to overthrow the capitalist system in a wide-ranging social revolution.

 

Socialism is an economic system characterised by social ownership and/or control of the means of

production and cooperative management of the economy, and a political philosophy advocating such a

system.

 

Subversion refers to an attempt to transform the established social order and its structures of power,

authority, and hierarchy. The term has taken over from ‘sedition’ as the name for illicit rebellion, though

the connotations of the two words are rather different, sedition suggesting overt attacks on institutions,

subversion something much more surreptitious, such as eroding the basis of belief in the status quo or

setting people against each other.

 

It is my contention that there is a vast subversive movement in America right now with these

subversives attempting to erode our values and corrupt our system of government. These subversives

are attempting to pit Americans against Americans with the goal of causing our political and economic

systems to collapse. Here are some signs that may suggest someone is a subversive. If you know

someone who exhibits these characteristics, be aware and be advised that they may be a subversive

working against America. Contact your local law enforcement officials at once if you believe someone

you know is a subversive.


The three first signs you are a subversive can be found here.

 

Next are three more signs: 


  • You oppose voter ID laws

 

This is the United States of America. You have to be a citizen of

this great nation to vote and participate in the election process. Foreigners and illegal aliens

don’t have the right to vote here in our elections. It is clear that there was a great deal of fraud

in the 2008 election. It is clear that without making voters identify themselves the election

process is subject to fraud with illegal aliens or foreigners voting. If you oppose having to show

a government issued photo identification or proof of citizenship at the polling location before

you vote, you evidently support rigged elections, corruption, and election fraud. Therefore,

you are probably a subversive looking to destroy America from within by allowing foreign

influences to participate in our election process. If you want to open a bank account, you

need a photo identification, social security card, and other forms of ID. If you want to fly on

a commercial airline, you need photo identification to get through the TSA screeners. If you

want to buy alcohol, you may need to present a photo identification. If you drive a car, you

have to have a state issued drivers license. Why then shouldn’t each voter be required to show

photo identification/proof of citizenship when they go to vote? Anyone who argues that it

will disadvantage people is obviously trying to rig the election. The people who they are trying

to protect from being disenfranchised probably drive, have bank accounts, buy alcohol, etc.

and had to prove they were citizens to get the photo ID in the first place. NO MORE ILLEGALS

VOTING IN OUR ELECTIONS! THEY ARE NOT CITIZENS AND THEY DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO

VOTE HERE!

 

  • You believe government knows what’s best for you

 

If you believe that the federal government is smarter than you are and, therefore, the federal government should make

decisions for you, not only are you a complete dumbass but you’re also probably a subversive,

subscribing to communism. The best thing for you to do would be to move to China or Russia or

any one of the many socialist or communist countries where the government does everything

for you, thinks for you, and takes care of you from cradle to grave. The federal government

makes notoriously bad decisions. Take spending, for example. You or I as individuals can’t

spend beyond our means forever. Yet, the politicians in Washington seem to think that the

federal government is able to do so. Not very smart is it. Would you want some bureaucrat in

Washington deciding how you should be treated if you were seriously ill? I don’t think so.

 

But, if you believe that the government is smarter than you and, therefore, should make

decisions for you, you evidently don’t believe in personal liberty. There’s a pretty clear

relationship between the size of the government and personal liberties. As the size of the

government increases, personal liberties decrease. Thus, if you believe in a behemoth federal

government that is all knowing, you evidently don’t believe in personal liberties. And if you

don’t believe in personal liberties, you’re a subversive. Remember, in communist societies,

you don’t have personal liberties…so, you don’t really get to vote though they may give you the

illusion of a vote, you don’t have freedom of speech so you’ll probably be killed if you speak out

against the government, and you basically don’t have many choices. If that’s what you want,

there’s plenty of places you can go but don’t force that upon other Americans.

 

  • You support censorship

 

Places like China, North Korea, Russia, Egypt, Syria and other

communist countries censor everything. People there can’t even really get on the internet.

How would you like getting on the internet and half the stuff on Google be blacked out?

Communists don’t want the free exchange of ideas; it’s a threat to their power and control

of the people. Look at places like Egypt and Libya. Social media helped to bring down the

dictators. Why do you think China and North Korea don’t want their people seeing news from

other places? The 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution ensures our right to free

speech. We can speak out against our government without fear of reprisal or of disappearing

into the gulag. Our media can report what it wants to report, whether I think it is newsworthy

or biased or not. If you believe the federal government should censor what Americans say

or what the media reports, you’re a subversive. If you object to the free exchange of ideas,

you implicitly support government control of what individuals and the media can and cannot

say. Communists want the government to control every aspect of the peoples’ lives. Thus,

censorship=control=communism.

 

In conclusion:



I guess the one big thing left for me to say is that most of these subversives are too stupid to realize

that they are being used and manipulated by someone else or some other organization with their own

agenda. It’s sad, but true. These people are merely puppets. The real threat to America are the ones

behind all these people—the puppet masters. They’re the ones working to destroy our nation from

within. Perhaps Joseph McCarthy was right when he said, “You are seeing today an all out attempt to

marshal the forces of the opposition, using not merely the communists, or their fellow travelers-the

deluded liberals, the eggheads, and some of my good friends in both the Democratic and Republican

Parties who can become heroes over night in the eyes of the left-wing press if they will just join with the

jackal pack…" 


Let me know your thoughts.  I'd like to know...
Leave me a comment below!


 

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Top Facts about My Newest Novel…The Maynwarings: A Game of Chance

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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Top Facts about My Newest Novel…

The Maynwarings: A Game of Chance

 

Fact 1.

It’s a western—That’s right, a western. I’ve always been a fan of TV westerns—Bonanza,

Gunsmoke, The Big Valley—and the old western movies—The Magnificent Seven and The

Good The Bad, & The Ugly—so I decided to write one. They’re not really in style anymore, and

honestly I don’t know of any author that still actively writes westerns or even when the last

western novel was published. I’ve tried to craft my own unique mystery/thriller element to this

western, so it’s not as simple as the gunslinger rides into town, there’s a shootout in the street,

and so on. No, there’s much more to this western than that, and there’s much more than meets

the eye.

 

Fact 2.

The Maynwarings—The book is called The Maynwarings: A Game of Chance and centers around

the Maynwaring family—Barron and his wife Eleanor and their children, Mary Catherine,

Breckenridge, Houston, and Stokes. It just so happens that the Maynwarings have a massive

ranch (some say the biggest in the entire west) and pretty much have business interests in

everything—timber, mining, hotels, mills, banking. Of course, they’re also very influential in the

political realm as well.

 

Fact 3.

The Greenbrier—The Maynwarings make their home at The Greenbrier Ranch. The Greenbrier

mansion is a twenty thousand square foot complex built of sandstone mined from their own

quarries. The mansion is three stories tall with an intricately-carved, white columned porch on

the front, high arches and windows to each side, and columned balconies along the second and

third floors. A massive silver dome and cupola adorn the roof and sparkle brilliantly even under

overcast skies. The road leading to the mansion is paved with cobblestones and lined with gas

lamps and white oak trees imported from the Appalachian Mountains. It truly is a magnificent

place befitting the family and their massive empire.

 

Fact 4.

Carson City, Nevada—The story takes place in Carson City, the capital of the state of Nevada

which became the 36th state on October 31, 1864 during the Civil War. Nevada joined the

Union to help Lincoln’s re-election just days later though many Nevadans were torn between

supporting the Confederacy or joining the Union. The massive wealth created by the discovery

of the Comstock Lode, the first major US discovery of silver ore, near Carson City in 1859 was

actively sought by the Confederacy, which hoped it would help turn the tide of the war. Carson

City was established in 1858 after a group of settlers led by Abraham Curry sought to break from

the Utah Territory and the Mormon influence of the territorial government in Salt Lake City.

Carson City ultimately became the commercial center as a result of the Comstock Lode and the

influx of miners and speculators to the area.

 

Fact 5.

Barron Maynwaring, United States Senator—Barron never wanted to be Senator for the battle

born state of Nevada, hoping the territory could keep out of the Civil War. He had, in fact,

supported the state joining the Confederacy, as he believed in states’ rights and limiting the

intrusiveness of the federal government. When many of his friends from the newly formed

state legislature approached him about representing Nevada in the United States’ Senate, he

had initially been reluctant to get involved in the political system. Ultimately, however, he

decided that he had too much at stake financially to let someone else dictate their future. He

had helped to shape the territory and Carson City, and he felt it was his obligation to help shape

the future of the state as well as protect his family’s interests. So, he traded part of his duties as

rancher for those as Senator.

 

Fact 6.

Mary Catherine Maynwaring, Carson City Solicitor—Mary Catherine is Barron’s outspoken,

cunning, highly intelligent, and controversial yet charming daughter. Despite the overwhelming

odds against a woman attending college then law school, Mary Catherine successfully graduated

at the top of her class from a prestigious university, a feat almost impossible for a woman in the

1850s. After returning to Carson City, she worked for the circuit court for two years and was

then appointed district attorney for Carson City by the territorial governor. She has a passion

for the law and wants to see justice done at all costs. She doesn’t take no for an answer and

isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo or go against powerful interests when someone has been

wronged or someone has broken the law or when corruption needs purged.

 

 

Fact 7.

You will have to wait until the end of the summer of 2012 to read it.

 

 

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7 Stupid Issues in America Today - Issue #3 Pornography

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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on Friday, 13 April 2012
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7 Stupid Issues in America Today

Americans and the media regularly debate a host of social, moral, and religious issues.  It is alarming to see the emotion that many individuals have invested in these issues.  Clearly, emotions have clouded the rational judgment and logic of these individuals.  It is good to be passionate about what you believe in, but such passion is a detriment when trying to work to solve the problems of America and society and often leads to divisiveness and animosity towards those with opposing views.

The debates seem to intensify during each election cycle when the politicians are grilled on their positions and beliefs on some very divisive social issues.  There are many clearly established laws that relate to the issues being debated.  While it may be interesting to see how politicians or candidates feel about these issues in helping decide who gets your vote, their positions are largely irrelevant as their ability to change established laws is somewhat limited.  Further, these issues are irrelevant when it comes to solving the greater challenges of America and restoring our greatness as a nation.

To me, it seems like there are seven stupid issues that people talk about, particularly in an election year, and to which they attribute too much importance.    

 

Issue #3: PORNOGRAPHY

 

·       Pornography—It appears that certain political figures want to have a war on pornography.Well, here again is someone’s personal belief trying to legislate morality for everyone else.If you don’t like pornography, don’t look at it or watch it—just like if you don’t like alcohol.If you’ve got some kind of religious or moral objection to it, that’s all right, but don’t try to shove your views down the throats of everyone else, particularly if it isn’t hurting you.If your neighbor’s unemployed, forty-year-old virgin kid is watching porn in the parent’s basement every day, what should you care?Why should you or anyone try to legislate pornography out of business?How’s it hurting you?I’d say the opponents of pornography are probably just sexually frustrated individuals who want everyone to be as equally miserable as they are.

Porn is a huge industry, and it isn’t going to go away even if politicians legislate against it.  It would merely become an underground industry and life would go on.  If you outlaw it, are you really going to put someone in prison for porn?  Do you see the absurdity of it—putting people in prison for porn but letting murderers go free every day?  Get real.

How about this to chew on—you know how we win the global war on terrorism?Let’s drop porn magazines and DVDs in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and anywhere else there may be terrorists.We’ll never hear from them again.That’s how we end the war on terror. 

 

To read Diggers take on stupid issue #1, read this:  7 Stupid Issues in America Today - Issue #1 Abortion7 Stupid Issues in America Today - Issue #1 Abortion

To read Diggers take on stupid issue #2, read this:  7 Stupid Issues in America Today - Issue #2 Separation of church and State

 

~Digger

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7 Stupid Issues in America Today - Issue #2 Separation of church and State

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 12 April 2012
in Digger Cartwright

7 Stupid Issues in America Today

Americans and the media regularly debate a host of social, moral, and religious issues.  It is alarming to see the emotion that many individuals have invested in these issues.  Clearly, emotions have clouded the rational judgment and logic of these individuals.  It is good to be passionate about what you believe in, but such passion is a detriment when trying to work to solve the problems of America and society and often leads to divisiveness and animosity towards those with opposing views.

The debates seem to intensify during each election cycle when the politicians are grilled on their positions and beliefs on some very divisive social issues.  There are many clearly established laws that relate to the issues being debated.  While it may be interesting to see how politicians or candidates feel about these issues in helping decide who gets your vote, their positions are largely irrelevant as their ability to change established laws is somewhat limited.  Further, these issues are irrelevant when it comes to solving the greater challenges of America and restoring our greatness as a nation.

To me, it seems like there are seven stupid issues that people talk about, particularly in an election year, and to which they attribute too much importance.    

 

Issue #2 : SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE

·       Separation of Church and State—Let me start by saying that America was founded on Christian values.  If you don’t like that fact or if you are offended by it, go somewhere else.  I’m really tired of people saying we can’t have the word ‘God’ on our money or in our pledge of allegiance or the school kids can’t mention God or we can’t have nativity scenes on public property.  If you don’t like that we celebrate Christmas in America you can suck it.  Don’t go trying to force your religion on me or tell us that we have to recognize your religion or this or that.  This country was founded by peoples seeking religious freedom.  The Puritans who came here and settled in New England were Christians; they pretty much formed the basis of democracy in America.  Our Founding Fathers were Christians not Muslims or Buddhists or anything else.  It is insulting to me as an American to have anyone say we can’t say a prayer before school or before a public meeting.  If you don’t want to participate, you don’t have to.  No one is forcing you to participate. 

Oh, and let’s remember why the Founding Fathers wanted a separation of church and state. They didn’t want to remove the influence of religion or God from our lives or our government.  They just didn’t want our government controlled by the church.  Only extremists would believe that we should remove ‘In God We Trust’ from our currency or that we should take out ‘Under God’ from the pledge of allegiance.  If we spiritually emasculate ourselves and our government, we will forget what has made this nation so great.  If we appease the people who favor political correctness when it comes to this, we’ll forget our values and those values that we important to our Founding Fathers—love of country and love, faith, and trust in God.  I certainly don’t want public gatherings to turn into worship service or school kids to be forced to pray, but I don’t want God totally removed from our country as some would have it and make our nation completely secularized.    

 

If you'd like to read about Issue #1, click here: 7 Stupid Issues in America Today - Issue #1 Abortion.

If you'd like to read each blog post as we publish, consider subscribing to the blog and you'll receive each new blog post in your inbox.

 

~ Digger

 

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7 Stupid Issues in America Today - Issue #1 Abortion

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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on Wednesday, 11 April 2012
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7 Stupid Issues in America Today

Americans and the media regularly debate a host of social, moral, and religious issues.  It is alarming to see the emotion that many individuals have invested in these issues.  Clearly, emotions have clouded the rational judgment and logic of these individuals.  It is good to be passionate about what you believe in, but such passion is a detriment when trying to work to solve the problems of America and society and often leads to divisiveness and animosity towards those with opposing views.

The debates seem to intensify during each election cycle when the politicians are grilled on their positions and beliefs on some very divisive social issues.  There are many clearly established laws that relate to the issues being debated.  While it may be interesting to see how politicians or candidates feel about these issues in helping decide who gets your vote, their positions are largely irrelevant as their ability to change established laws is somewhat limited.  Further, these issues are irrelevant when it comes to solving the greater challenges of America and restoring our greatness as a nation.

To me, it seems like there are seven stupid issues that people talk about, particularly in an election year, and to which they attribute too much importance.    

 

Issue #1: ABORTION

·         Abortion—Really?  Roe v Wade clearly established laws on abortion in 1973 that supports a woman’s right to have an abortion up to the point of viability which is about twenty-eight weeks.  Yet nearly forty years later, we’re still talking about this.  Why must we as a society still be bombarded with people wanting to make abortion completely illegal?  Are these people claiming to be God and know exactly when life begins?  Give me a break.  These are the same hypocrites that accuse pro-choice supporters of playing God and ending life.  Guess what, folks, if you make it illegal it will still happen.  We’ll go back to the days of coat hangers in dark alleys or unsafe practices that jeopardize the woman’s life.  And I’m willing to bet that those people who are against abortions would be singing a different tune if their daughter or sister got raped or molested and got pregnant.  Hmmmm…interesting, isn’t it? 

 

But don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should be more liberal on abortion.  It shouldn’t be a convenient means of birth control which is what would happen if the abortion laws were more liberal.  More and more people are broadly favoring a woman’s right to chose within the current legal framework while only a small percentage are abjectly opposed to abortion.  Let’s quit debating this on a national level.  To those who want to make all abortions illegal, guess what…that isn’t going to happen.  It would be political suicide for your elected Congressman or Senator to vote to restrict a woman’s right to choose.  And even if by some stretch of the imagination legislation were passed to ban abortions, the Supreme Court would probably strike it down.  Roe v Wade isn’t going to be overturned, so let’s quit talking about this issue and move onto more important matter. 

 

Look for Issue #2 coming soon!  

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~Digger

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10 New Ways to Deal with Illegal Immigration

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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on Wednesday, 21 March 2012
in Digger Cartwright

The issue of illegal immigration continues to be a major problem in the United States.  In 2008, I proposed ten ways to deal with illegal immigration.  Since then, the problem has become worse and little has been done by the federal government.  Therefore, I’ve come up with ten new ways to deal with illegal immigration.  If you didn’t like my last set of proposals, you probably won’t like these any better. 

·         Run the Gauntlet—Let’s give the illegals from Mexico a sporting chance to get here and gain citizenship.  We’ll make it like American Gladiators.  Let’s build a twenty foot high concrete wall surrounded by barbed wire and a moat filled with alligators or water moccasins.  On top of the wall we’ll have armed guards.  If you can make over the wall alive and both feet touch the American soil, you’re in.  If not, thanks for playing.

 

·         Mass Deportation—Let’s start checking ID’s ever chance we get.  Suspicious Americans could begin witch hunts to turn in people suspected of being illegal based solely on ethnicity.  If you don’t belong here, you get sent back to where you came from. 

 

·         Militarize the Border—We have over 28,000 troops guarding the border between North and South Korea.  Let’s bring them home and all the troops we have stationed everywhere else and militarize our border with Mexico.  Good luck getting through that.             

 

·         Auction off citizenships—We can establish a quota of the number of citizenships we want to auction off each year for each country.  Mexico may get 20,000.  The highest bidders get the citizenship so long as they pass a background check.   

 

·         Drastically Cut Student Visas—Students who attend school in the United States then don’t leave contribute to the growing illegal population.  We don’t need to be educating these people at the expense of our own taxpayers and citizens. 

 

·         Annex Mexico—Let’s annex Mexico as a territory and open it up for massive real estate development, tourism, and industry once we’ve sent in the military to crush the drug cartels.  We’ll then have access to about 12 billion barrels of proven oil reserves and opportunity to wean ourselves from foreign oil.  We’ll make the territory exempt from EPA regulations, etc., and it is easier to guard the border between Mexico and Guatemala and Belize than the U.S./Mexico border.  

 

·         Indentured Servitude—We should offer citizenship to those who wish to immigrate here in exchange for seven years of service to the military or individuals or businesses.  Upon discharge from their indentured servitude, they are granted citizenship. 

 

·         Prohibit Illegals from Accessing Public Services—Let’s see, if they can’t get a driver’s license or identification card, they can’t get a job, rent an apartment, get utilities, etc.  Make sure they can’t put their kids in our schools and use taxpayer funded services.  No use to stay if they can’t survive here.

 

·         Expand Worldwide Investment in Mexico—Let’s promote investment in Mexico.  If other countries and businesses invest there, the Mexicans won’t want to come here.  There will be plenty of jobs there for them to support their families.  Employers can build factories there and pay substandard wages to be able to compete with China.  They won’t need to come here seeking work and many of them that are here will return home.

 

·         Open the Gates—If we aren’t going to get serious about illegal immigration, let’s just open the gates and tell them to come on in; the more the merrier.  Just make sure they pay their taxes… 

 

There is no one solution to this problem.  Any solution must address many aspects of the complex challenges posed by illegal immigration.  If we’re not going to get serious about addressing the problem, let’s move on to solving other problems.

 

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8 Solutions to the Dysfunctional Political System in America

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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on Monday, 19 March 2012
in Digger Cartwright

8 Solutions to the Dysfunctional Political System in America

 

We all know that the current atmosphere in Washington, D.C. can be described as dysfunctional.  I’ve been giving a lot of thought to ways that our dysfunctional political system could be fixed.  Here’s what I’ve come up with.  

 

·         Term Limits—Our Founding Fathers did not envision a system in which we had career politicians.  Serving in the Congress should not be about amassing power because you’ve been there the longest.  Serving in the Congress should be about doing what is best for America.  Term limits would bring fresh blood and new ideas into the government on a more regular basis.      

 

·       Strong Third Party—We need a good, solid third party that’s made up of the centrists in both the Republican and Democratic parties.  If a strong third party deprived the other two parties of a majority in the Congress, it would force compromise to get anything done.  Why doesn’t the establishment and the media want a viable third party?   

 

·         End Lobbying—Lobbying=Corruption.  There’s no money in politics; the money is in the graft.  Lobbying corrupts the integrity of the Congress and its members and is nothing more than good, old fashioned vote buying.  Does anyone else think it suspicious that most of the members of the Congress end up millionaires?  Maybe that’s why they’re not willing to ban lobbying. 

 

·        Cut Congressional Pay, Benefits, and Time Congress is in Session—Congress should be in session from January through March, the month of June, and again in October and November up to Thanksgiving.  Members of the Congress should be paid $30,000 per year for this part-time service or a per diem.  The rest of the time, they need to go back to the districts they represent and their jobs.      

 

·        Balanced Budget Amendment and Massive Restructuring of the Federal Government—First, we need to substantially reduce the size of the federal government by restructuring and eliminating a number of departments.  Second, the Congress can develop a balanced budget rule with caps on spending increases.  What taxpayer wouldn’t agree that tightening the purse string is a good idea, particularly when it comes to members of the Congress who don’t seem to care how much they spend?

 

·      Eliminate Riders and Amendments to Bills—Shouldn’t the merits of the bill itself be the chief factor in determining whether it passes and not because there was some rider that got some votes to ensure passage?  It should be fairly simple—the proposed legislation should fit on less than two pieces of legal paper.  The Bill of Rights didn’t need much more space than that.  Do we really need these complex bills that no one seems to read or understand?       

 

·       Make Congress Like Jury Duty—If you meet certain qualifications (education, citizenship, etc.) and if your number gets called up, you’re going to be the congressman or senator for the next two years or six years.  If this system is good enough to determine a person’s fate in a court of law, why wouldn’t this work in running our country?  I think it would bring more common sense to Washington and make the Congress more like our Founding Fathers had envisioned. 

 

·         Vote Them All Out and Start Over—What we’ve got in Washington, D.C. right now clearly isn’t working.  So, let’s vote all of them out.  The people in Washington are working for themselves and will do or say whatever it takes to keep their seat.  Let’s find some good, hardworking American citizens and taxpayers to run for these seats and let’s get them elected.       

 

I think we can all agree that we need solutions not just lectures and excuses from politicians. 

 

Robert Frost once said that,

“Freedom lies in being bold.” 

 

We need bold solutions to our problems, and that necessitates a better working relationship between the parties in Washington.   

 

~Digger

 

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