Monday, March 15, 2010


Over the last year or so I have become painfully aware of the problems that our Nation is facing. I know these are serious problems that affect a large percentage of the American public, if not all of us. Watching our politicians work and listening to the speeches and press conferences they are giving I don’t believe out politicians are as serious about doing the right thing as they are about furthering their political careers.

Washington is spending America right out of existence while breaking the spirit of the American people. Taxation is out of control, budgets are written that are only increasing the deficit instead of reducing it which in turn means the National debt will never be paid off. Laws continue to be written that are not within the powers enumerated in the Constitution but take more and more control over the lives of the American public. If we stay on this path the America we will pass down to future generations is not the America I wanted to pass down, not the legacy I would want to be remembered for.

I realize I don’t know much about politics but there are a few things I would do if I were in Congress.

  • The Federal budget needs to be balanced, not to just reduce the deficit but to make the deficit zero so we can start reducing the National Debt. The States are supposed to have there own sovereignty so the states should not be receiving money for pet projects that do not benefit the Nation as a whole. No more federally funded bike paths, hiking paths, memorials or beautification projects. If the states want to have these projects funded they should have to find the funds within their own states, if the citizens of a state want something they will figure out how to raise the funds. Federal funds should only be used in accordance with the Constitution. Legislation should be able to stand on there own merits, it should not take bribery in the form of earmarks to get passed.
  • Stop subsidizing failing institutions with taxpayer dollars. The Federal Government has been pouring money into Amtrak and the USPS without any hope of either one becoming profitable. There are many federally funded agencies and institutions that are no more then bottomless pits. If these services are allowed to operate on their own without federal funding or interference they will either succeed or fail or their own. If they are truly a needed service let an entrepreneur step in and provide that service.
  • Stop the spending that was passed with the Stimulus Bill. A large portion of this spending has been used on programs that are not putting Americans back to work. Spending is not the way to create jobs, cutting taxes and getting out of the way of both large and small business owners is the way to create jobs.
  • Elected officials are public servants yet they act like they are royalty. Members of Congress do not need to travel in private jets with large staffs and fleets of Limos. These elected officials are elected by individual states to represent the States in Washington, not to fly all over the globe on boondoggles and retreats paid for by tax dollars. Congress should be using the technological advances that are now available to minimize unnecessary and costly travel.
  • Pay for all federal employees that are already well above the average for the private sector should be frozen; this includes members of Congress and their staffs. Serving your State and Country is a privilege and a duty, not a get rich scheme.

These are just a few of the things that could be done immediately to reduce the deficit and in turn start reducing the National debt. There are many areas that can be addressed on a long term plan. The country needs to get back to the basics of the Constitution. The Constitution clearly spells out what functions the Federal Government is responsible for, all others are to be retained by the States and the citizens. Most of the government programs we have come to blindly accept are not authorized by the Constitution except by the fact that we as States and citizens have allowed them the power. The States need to take back that power. All federally funded aid programs should be shifted to the States, this would include, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Welfare, and Housing. As sovereign entities the States have the right to either fund these programs or to not fund them per the wishes of the citizens of the individual States. These types of changes would affect a large portion of the population all across the Nation so it would require a plan that would allow for a gradual shift of power and responsibility.

· Stop required contributions to SSI, Medicare and Medicaid. Immediately make these volunteer programs. For those that are already dependent on these programs and those that are close enough to retirement age that they would not be able to recover from the loss of this type of retirement program the funding would remain. Allow a 2 year period in which participation in the program is voluntary while the responsibility is shifted to the States. During this period the program would be run like any other retirement plan, the funds would be invested and not used to fund other programs. The States would then be responsible for determining if they want to continue the programs based on the desires of the citizens. There should be some provision for individuals that elect to continue in the program but their State decides to not offer the program, exactly what I don’t know. For the States that continue the program the funds that have been contributed to the federal fund would be shifted to the accountability of the Contributors State.

· All recipients of welfare would be evaluated to determine the continued need for assistance. Federal funding for welfare would then stop and the States would have the responsibility of funding the program. If a State determines it does not want to fund a welfare program that is the choice of the State. There should be intense investigations into any reports of welfare fraud.

· A Fair Tax program should be put into place for federal funds. Having a fair tax puts the responsibility of running the country on all citizens. All tax plans can be abused but at least with a fair tax program each individual has the power to control how much they contribute based on their spending habits. If you have rich tastes you will pay more, if you are frugal you will pay less. If an individual wants to live at a higher standard then they currently are they can through hard work. This will also put money back into the hands of the workers who will then spend more which in turn will stimulate our economy.

· Control of education should be with the States. Local control of the educational standards will force more involvement by parents. If parents want to see their children go on to college they will become active in increasing the teaching standards and ensuring the schools have properly qualified and motivated educators.

· Energy production should be either a private industry or a State industry. Unfortunately energy is an industry that is of the nature that competition is hard to have, only so many power lines can be strung. It is an industry that can be controlled at a State level. If a State wants only hydro, or nuclear, or coal burning then they should be able to control it. This does bring into question the environmental impact of some of these choices which does affect the entire nation since you can’t control the wind. In this case the States should be concerned with cleaning up our environment and placing regulations on not only power companies but all areas of industry to minimize the environmental impact.

· There should also be term limits on members of Congress. Career politicians stop caring about the welfare of the Nation and just look at how to save their careers. You would think that would mean keeping constituents happy nut what it really means it keeping special interest groups that just want federal funds happy. It also means they will cut deals that benefit the powerbase that is supporting them and will make them rich. We need Statesmen, not career politicians. I also feel the 17th Amendment should be repealed, put the power of who goes to Washington to represent the State back in the States hands.

One area that is within the enumerated powers of the Federal Government is National Security. Our borders need to be closed. Immigration is a good thing for this country, if it is done legally. Illegal immigration is not only a drain on tax payer dollars it is a threat to the security of the Nation. Our country is a country of laws, supporting illegal immigration and even the consideration of amnesty is a blatant disregard for the law, it is also an insult to the immigrants that have entered the country legally and assimilated into society.

Our Founding Fathers also believed in trade with other countries. This trade should not only be free trade, but fair trade. If a country wants to only import products into our country there should be tariffs on those products to encourage equal exports. Fair trade would mean no tariffs, one sided trade, tariffs. In order to have products to export we have to allow the free market to operate. This Nation has the greatest diversity of products and skills to be found on the planet. We must have an environment that encourages businesses to keep the factories and jobs in the United States. The best way to accomplish this is to get the Government out of the way.

Our Founding Fathers also believed we should stay politically neutral with other Nations. Britain’s philosophy used to be to make the world British. Men shed blood and died during the Revolutionary War to escape that. Why are we now trying to do the same thing? I understand the argument about preventing genocide, helping starving people all across the globe, and protecting people from dictators. What is forgotten is that these issues have been going on across the world since long before the United States was ever a Nation. We have a few of those problems right here in our own country. I not advocating isolationism but we should not be attempting to spread democracy through Nation building across the globe while we are losing our own country.

I know changes such as I have mentioned would take time and would adversely affect a large number of people. Sacrifices were made to form this country; it’s going to take sacrifice to keep this country. Many Americans are uneducated on where their tax dollars go or where the funding for the special programs they are taking advantage of come from. The liability for the funding of this country should be on the shoulders of all Americans, not just a few. Historically Americans have been very free thinking independent individuals. The politicians today are trying to tie us all up in one nice neat little package and create a cradle to grave nanny state where you will have no say in what direction your life or your career will go. As I once heard a comedian say, Wake Up America!

Unfortunately I’m not in Congress and I never will be. The system has made nearly impossible for the average citizen to get into public office. Starting out at a local level is a good way to try and get there but even that is tough. The working class that makes up a large majority of individuals adversely affected by the direction the country is headed is too busy working trying to make ends meet and keep their families together. Getting into any level of Government requires money and connections, even more so at a federal level. It should only require desire, the desire to do the right thing, the desire to uphold the Constitution, not destroy it, the desire to pass on a greater Nation then we started with.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Thank you Mr. President

President Obama,

I’m writing to thank you for all that you have done for me. As recently as two years ago I had only a rudimentary knowledge of the US Constitution and the other documents that were instrumental in the formation of our country, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. When you started making speeches on the campaign trail some the things both you and your opponent, Senator McCain, were saying just were not ringing true to me. At that point I started to educate myself on the documents that formed our country and our government. I don’t have a degree in Constitutional Law much less any type of law so I have to take the words as they are written, not to interpret them as I saw fit or as some Professor saw fit. I also had to do my own research into what the framers of the documents intended for the words to mean. Thank you for teaching me to think for myself.

You have also taught me more about politicians and politics then I ever cared to know. As part of my upbringing I was taught to say what I mean and mean what I say, I was also taught that it’s easier to tell the truth then to lie; you don’t have to remember as much. As I have become more interested in politics, politicians and the direction our country is headed I have come to realize that politics does not adhere to any of those things. Politicians will say whatever they want in order to gain power and contributions from the powerful elite. It’s been a real education on how politics works when listening to all the various polls stating what the American people want and then seeing what our Government is doing, I guess in the Governments opinion we are not educated enough to think for ourselves and know what we really want.

You have also taught me that what the officers I served with in the Navy, to lead by example, was all wrong. I read the legislation that is being written in Congress and listen to the powerful people that are pushing for the legislation telling me it’s the right thing to do for the people of America or for the planet but I don’t see them leading by example. If going green and reducing green house gases was such an important issue wouldn’t you expect to see the lawmakers and lobbyists pushing for it going green themselves? I don’t mean buying credits allowing them to clear their conscious while continuing to emit green house gases, I mean selling the SUV’s and Limos, selling the mansions, stop traveling by private jets and start using go to meeting. I’m also curious as to how good the proposed health care plans are for the American people when they have to make special deals, bribe and threaten in order to get the votes to pass the bills, guess I just don’t understand politics, but I’m sure if I keep watching you and your administration I will learn.

You have also taught me how to influence people. During the campaign you and your staff convinced people that a Governor for one of our largest states had no experience in politics all while you had little to no experience yourself, yet no one questioned that. I have never seen someone as skilled as you at influencing people. Since becoming President you have convinced people that everything you are doing is the greatest thing they will ever see when in truth what you are doing will go down as one the greatest atrocities to the United States and her citizens that will ever be recorded in history. Of course history will remember only that you were one hell of a salesman from that country that used to be known as the United States of America. To go with this you have also taught me have to shirk responsibility. When I accepted a new assignment in the Navy I accepted all the problems that went with the job. I did not matter whether my predecessor created them or not. My seniors would not accept me passing the blame off on someone else; all they accepted was what I was doing about them and why they weren’t fixed.

You have also taught me about the diversity within our country. I don’t mean the diversity of race, creed, color and culture, I mean in ideologies. I used to believe there were only two major political parties and they were firm in their values, now I know different. The two major political parties are so intermingled and splintered at the same time that it keeps the American public confused about what they are getting when they vote. Then there are all the different groups throughout America that want to tear the country apart for one reason or another. They use the very foundation of this country to protect them and to allow them to protest against this country. In truth if they were to try and exercise the same rights in the countries they want us to emulate they would be persecuted and prosecuted.

You have also taught me to look back in history which has caused me to realize that what I thought I knew about past Presidents is not necessarily true. I now realize that there have been quite a few Presidents that have tried to create the country you are well on the way to create. In you defense I have to thank you for being so straight forward about it. You have plainly stated that you were going to fundamentally change America. To me that means you want to change the very fundamental that created America and that is exactly what you are trying to do. You have come right out and stated that you want to redistribute wealth within America. I also thought that in America we were free to be the best we could be and to be free of persecution just because we were hard working and successful. You have also come right out and stated that you are a Progressive, something that many of your predecessors have been but were not brave enough to come right out and state it. I didn’t know what a Progressive was at first, it sounded good but now I know exactly what it is.

You have also taught me that I know nothing about how to handle a budget or how to get through tough times. I’ve never owned my own business but I have been in positions that required to work within budget constraints and to look for ways to reduce the budget to ensure the success of the company. I now know that I was going about it all wrong, I should have been requesting larger budgets with large deficits that would just add to the debt of the company without any possibility of paying it off. Instead of looking at areas where spending could be cut I should have been looking at creating more departments that would add to the debt and deficit instead of reducing them. It’s been a great lesson in economics.

Lastly I want to thank you for showing me that I had the wrong idea about what the American Dream was. I always thought the American Dream was the same dream that the original founders had, the dream that the soldiers of the revolution had, the dream that all the early immigrants had when they came here. The dream that they could come here and try to make a life for themselves based on their skills and desires. The dream that they could be free from a tyrannical Government. The dream that they could build businesses and farms and not have all their hard earned money taken by the Government like the serfs from the “Old Country”. You have shown me that I was wrong once again. You have shown me that the American Dream is really just that, only a dream. We can only dream about the choices we thought we were free to make for ourselves and our families. According to you we are not smart enough to make our own decisions so you and the Government will make all the decisions for us.

There is one lesson that you haven’t taught me that I wish you would. I wish you would teach me what a President and the elected officials of our Government are suppose to do. I wish you would teach me how Washington is suppose to “Support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic”, the oath that all elected officials are required to take when they are sworn in, the same oath the every man and woman that serves in the military takes. Teach me what that oath really means, not how it’s interpreted by the extreme left or right. If you could teach me and the American people that lesson then maybe we could revive the American Dream and get it back on the right track.


Steven K. Avery

MMC(SS/SW) USN Retired

Friday, March 12, 2010


In peacetime the mission of the United States Navy is peacetime engagement, deterrence and conflict prevention. To meet this directive Navy vessels must be at sea and battle ready at a moments notice. On a nuclear powered submarine there are various departments and divisions made up of volunteers to ensure this goal is met.

When a submarine is at sea the entire crew works long hours, standing watch, maintaining equipment, training on equipment and running drills for damage control proficiency. In port the schedule is different depending on what division a sailor is assigned to. The Radio Division for example stands in-port watches required for the security of the submarine, performs routine maintenance the radio equipment and assists vendor technicians performing upgrades on the equipment. Barring a major catastrophe with the equipment this normally means they have normal work days and ample time off to spend with family and friends. The Machinery division on the other hand, just by the nature of machinery, has to put in long hours while in-port standing watches, operating required equipment, performing routine preventive maintenance and performing required repairs. Both divisions are vital to the overall operation of the submarine and its ability to meet its assigned missions on time. One other consideration is that in most cases it costs more money to have a nuclear powered ship in port then to have it operating at sea due to the port services required.

If the Navy were to apply the idea of redistribution to the working hours of these two divisions one of the following would occur.

- If the work load was distributed evenly between the two divisions there would be unqualified and untrained personnel being loaned to the Machinery Division to work. This would result in equipment either not being repaired and maintained in a timely manner or being repaired and maintained incorrectly. End result: the submarine would not meet its mission goals.

- If the Machinery Division were to alter its work day to meet the same hours as the Radio Division routine maintenance and repairs would take longer then the prescribed time and cost more money in the long run. End result: the submarine would not meet its mission goals.

- If the Radio Division were to alter its work day to meet the same hours as the Machinery Division there would be a waste of assets in the form of Radio personnel sitting around with no work to perform. End result: the submarine would meet its mission goals but not for long. The Navy would end up with disgruntled sailors that would not reenlist for extended service, end result: the Navy would not meet its mission goals due to loss of experienced personnel.

The idea of redistribution of wealth within the United States works the same. If the Government takes from those that work and give to those that don’t the same results will happen, the United States will not meet its mission goals. In America individuals have the opportunity to better themselves through hard work, the opportunity to be the best they can be according to their abilities and desires. When the reasons to succeed are taken away the desires to succeed will go away. Sooner or later the working class will tire of seeing their effort, sacrifice and sweat going to those that are unwilling to put in the effort. This will create a nation of welfare. The Government does not produce a product or service it can sell to obtain the funds required to support a welfare nation. End result: The United States will fail.

On one particular nuclear powered submarine the Leading Chief Petty Officer of the Radio Division and the Leading Chief Petty Officer of the Machinery Division lived in the same neighborhood. They spent time together at cookouts and watching their children play little league baseball. On one occasion when the Leading Chief Petty Officer of the Machinery Division had to put in long hours the wife of the Leading Chief Petty Officer of the Radio Division remarked how unfair it was that one had to work and miss out on family time while her husband was able to be home. The Leading Chief Petty Officer of the Radio Division responded to her that they both had chosen their career paths, both had volunteered willingly and knowingly of what they were doing, he was right. In America, at least for the time being, Americans are free to choose, free to choose their career paths, free to choose how successful they will be. Redistribution may not actually take away this choice, but it will take away the desire, it will take away the spirit of the American people. Redistribution could eventually lead to a redistribution of land and careers, the Government could determine for you what career path you will take based on what is needed in the Governments opinion, not yours. Redistribution will not affect those that have political power, the elite. They will not give up their power and wealth, they will be the rulers over the American people. Is this the America you want to live in? The America you want to pass on to future generations?