Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Health Care in America - Where Politicians Fear to Tread


The Broken American Health Care System

Do you notice something wrong with the following statistics?

Chldren 3-17 years of age ever diagnosed with ADHD: 5.2 million
Cildren now on prescription drugs to treat ADHD - 16 million

Adults with Type 2 diabetes in 2010: 25.8 million
Adults treated with Metformin HLC for diabetes: 48.3 million

Adults with chronic pain: 56 million
Adults prescribed Vicodin for chronic pain: 131.2 million

Adults with high cholesterol: 36 million
Adults prescribed Zocor for high cholesterol: 94.1 million

Adults with high blood pressure: 75 million
Adults prescribed Prinivil for high blood pressure: 87.4 million
Adults prescribed Norvasc for high blood pressure: 57.2 million
Adults prescribed Hydrodiuril for high blood pressure: 47.8 million
Adults prescribed just 3 drugs for high blood pressure: 192.4 million

We have a problem in America, a problem people and politicians do not want to hear or think about.  America spends more money than any other nation on health care, far more than most nations, yet we have a mediocre health care system.

Health care costs have been rising for several years.  Expenditures in the United States on health care surpassed $2.3 trillion in 2008, more than three times the $714 billion spent in 1990, and over eight times the $253 billion spent in 1980.

In 2008, U.S. health care spending was about $7,681 per resident and accounted for 16.2% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP); this is among the highest of all industrialized countries. Total health care expenditures grew at an annual rate of 4.4 percent in 2008, a slower rate than recent years, yet still outpacing inflation and the growth in national income.

The following chart shows how much we spend on health care.

We now spend about $2.6 trillion on health care.  The average cost of a family health insurance policy offered by employers was $13,375 this year, up 5% from 2008, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust survey found.

So where does this spending leave us in terms of the quality of our health care system compared to the rest of the world?

Here is the ranking:

Americans spend twice as much as residents of other developed countries on healthcare, but get lower quality, less efficiency and have the least equitable system, according to a report released on Wednesday.

The United States ranked last when compared to six other countries -- Britain, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, the Commonwealth Fund report found.

How about in terms of developed and undeveloped nations?

1.         France
2.         Italy
3.         San Marino
4.         Andorra
5.         Malta
6.         Singapore
7.         Spain
8.         Oman
9.         Austria
10.       Japan
11.        Norway
12.       Portugal
13.       Monaco
14.       Greece
15.       Iceland
16.       Luxemburg
17.       Netherlands
18.       United Kingdom
19.       Ireland
20.      Switzerland
21.       Belgium
22.      Columbia
23.       Sweden
24.       Cyprus
25.       Germany
26.       Saudi Arabia
27.       U.A.E.
28.      Israel
29.       Morocco
30.      Canada
31.       Finland
32.       Australia
33.       Chile
34.       Denmark
35.       Dominica
36.       Costa Rica
37.      United States

Astonishing!  Our quality of health care is not even as good as nations spending ten times less per capita as we do.  That is not a logical problem, or a cultural problem, it is a criminal problem that our profit driven health care industry and our corrupted political system perpetuate.

There are ways out of the mess.  They will not come from Washington, D.C. however.  Not when billions of dollars are being spent by the industry to protect what they own.

For the past three years and the next four years insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, HMOs and other healthcare profiteers will spend billions in advertising and more billions in lobbying to convince us that we have the BEST healthcare system in the world.  The truth is far from that claim.

That is why I am starting a series of articles on the broken American Health Care system, and what it will take to give us the quality of health care we deserve for the money we spend on health care.


Obamaville - January 31 - The Beginning of the End


4 States Down - 46 To Go

With just four states having now voted and nine more months of campaigning in the 2012 presidential election what have we learned?

The lessons may fall on deaf ears but a lot has been exposed about the character and nature of this race for the White House. To really understand the significance we must first identify the motives of the voices trying to influence the election outcome.

Make no mistake, the clearest message so far has been that there may be no objective media left in America as the news services, network and cable stations and newspapers are now dominated by ideological and political dogma, not but any concern for giving us a fair and balanced report on the candidates or campaigns.

It seems as if there can be no one left in Americawho is for what is good for the nation just what is good for their favorite party or politician. Things have gotten so far from reality that so called news stations like MSNBC and CNN have condemned Romney for singing "America the Beautiful".

Last week Obama did a couple of second sound bite of a song by the Al Green , without a doubt a great gospel and soul singer, and the media wanted to put Obama on American Idol as the next king of soul.

Yesterday Romney sang an entire stanza of America the Beautiful, perhaps one of the most beloved patriotic songs in America, and he was condemned by television news media. Since when did it become bad for our political leaders to sing patriotic songs?

These must be the same voices that have been trying to rid America of the "Pledge of Allegiance", remove "In God We Trust" from all mention, and ban the Nativity scene from all public places. Next they will try to remove the words from the Constitution saying people "are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights".

Having been involved in music I can say that Romney's a cappella performance of a very difficult piece of patriotic music displayed more guts than any politician in a long while and was much closer to pitch than many performances by professional singers who have butchered the Star Spangled Banner at sports events.

So before Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski from MSNBC and Soledad O'Brien, CNN and all the other news celebrities condemn our politicians for being patriotic they should sing their own version of God Bless America or the Star Spangled Banner to thank the nation for letting them be successful.

Then there is Obama and his dog. As if the Republicans can't get in enough mischief by themselves the liberal media has served us up their version of patriotism thanks to the president's top campaign advisor, Chicago aide David Axelrod.

He took a nasty swipe at Romney who earlier said his family dog liked to ride in a kennel on the roof of the car rather than inside the car with five kids. I was in a family with a bunch of rowdy kids and I would have paid to ride on the roof away from the chaos.

But Axelrod says we don't love our dog unless we treat them like Obama and he tweeted a photo of the president and his dog Bo riding in the presidential limo. Somehow a Chicago city boy like Axelrod or Obama thinks pets belong in limos, which most Americans don't have, with the president holding them by the neck.

That might be the problem with America. Our leaders want to keep dogs locked in a limo with their hands around their neck. The same way they want to control people. All my dogs loved freedom and would have bit anyone strangling them for a photo op. Given a choice, I can't imagine a dog that would rather be strangled in a limo than in the back of a pick up or even in a cage if they are a hunting dog on the way to the fields for they live for the freedom, not for confinement.

Enough for the silliness brought to you by the news media. Long ago we learned not to seek the news from the news people.

The campaign got rather nasty but no true American ever ran from a fight. Before Florida the media said Romney did not defend himself, now they say he was too aggressive. The people voting will tell us what they thought.

One thing the media really forgot is how Florida is the microcosm of America. There is no other state more representative of Americathan the Gator state. Southern Florida is more like New York or New Jersey than many places in New York thanks to the many retired Yankees. Northern Floridais more southern. The Hispanic vote is equally split with Cubans south and Puerto Ricans north.

There are eight very different television markets, it is the fourth largest state, it has nearly double digit unemployment, leads the nation in foreclosures and exemplifies the nation in religious diversification. There are more seniors, more rich and more poor than most places.

Tourism is huge, environmental issues are crucial, the space program is essential, and of course it is the entertainment capital of the country. In politics we have elected officials ranging from the most conservative to liberal, from Marco Rubio, US Senator and GOP Vice Presidential favorite, to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, mouthpiece for Obama and the liberal Democratic party.

In fact, Florida is so diverse that the New York Yankees have spring training camp there and the Miami Heat rule the NBA press machine with a team built around a Cleveland native, Lebron James. If that isn't enough, Florida has everything from the super rich in South Beach to the alligators of the Everglades.

I say the media should just sit back and report the news and let the Americans of Florida make the news. History will always teach us that when the media and politics fail we always can count on the people to show us the way to the light. Just give the public the chance to make sense of the election and they will. That is the power and strength of America.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Obamaville - January 30 - Florida Primary Eve


Any Surprises Tomorrow?

In a word, no. Romney, as expected before the media driven Gingrich surge, has equaled his surge in the polls with a retreat about as dramatic. In the process he has left a lot of people perplexed.

The volatile Republican candidate who wants to take on our Democratic President, in which there would have been a clash of wills over who is the most intelligent, most knowing and most scholarly, has fallen by the wayside in spite of media efforts to prop up his flailing campaign.

The problem is Newt can never live up to his exaggerated opinion of himself. The second problem is he might be a senior member of the establishment, but it was an establishment that lost control long ago.

While the media wants him to remain in the race to rip Mitt Romney apart and leave Romney vulnerable to the expected billion dollar attack by the president this fall, I believe the media, Obama and his Chicago gang are way out of touch with the public.

Newt's petulant and insolent attacks on Romney just make Newt look smaller and smaller in the eyes of the public. He shows no signs of being interested in what the public wants, only satisfying his raging animosity toward a candidate who is simply walloping the schoolyard bully.

Revenge, anger, and jealously are hardly becoming a GOP candidate for president and the more he sho9ws his true colors the faster his fall from grace in the eyes of the public.

As for Romney, he is getting a Harvard education in the primary because as soon as he wins the nomination, the Harvard president will try the same tactics only then Romney will have the experience and class to keep the election focused on the economy.

Barack Obama, through his mouthpieces in the media and campaign, is doing everything possible to encourage Gingrich because the biggest obstacle to his re-election is not Romney, it is the truth. This president has failed to address high unemployment, his $1.3 trillion a year deficit, and his ballooning nearly $16 trillion national debt.

As a result, there is no growth in the economy and no way health care costs can be controlled, Social Security can be saved, and Medicare can be protected. We are in a whale of trouble is the president is not held responsible for what he didn't do, and what he shows no signs of wanting to address in the immediate future.

ObamaCare does nothing to reduce health care or health insurance costs, and most certainly will not make Americans healthier. Just tell us the truth, that the problem is greater than they thought and is not being addressed.

The same with the unemployment, deficit and debt. We are not over the recession, but we could be, if the White House would admit they failed with social engineering to solve our problems and now must listen to the people who want less government, less regulation and most certainly a lot less hot air from our nation's capitol.

There is nothing wrong with admitting we still have a problem. Honesty is always better than cover ups, misinformation and distortion. We have had three years of intellectual thought. We need solutions, not theories. We need a will to take on the problems, not ignore them. We need foresight to tackle issues like Social Security and Medicare reform, not act as if they will take care of themselves.

Right now Romney is the only candidate relentlessly pursuing an agenda of the concerns of the people. Yes, he must deviate for a short time to secure the primary nomination and if that means to defeat Gingrich then so be it. But rest assured he will focus on the issues, the national issues, and that is the president's Achilles heel.

Now as I mentioned before, at this time the last campaign Obama and Hillary were in a brutal battle over the attempts (according to Obama) by Bill Clinton to use the race issue to defeat Obama. Now that sounds a lot meaner than today when Romney's tax returns showing $3 million in taxes paid and $3 million in charitable contributions seems to be the big concern?

Need I remind us all that maybe we need a president that can't be bought. Maybe we need a president who spends his time on the people's business instead of campaign fundraising. Maybe we need hope and change. Maybe we can get it this time.


Friday, January 27, 2012

The Moon over Mihammi, Florida that is...


For someone who spent his entire lifetime as a Reagan Republican Newt Gingrich has some views of the world, or is it universe, that don't seem to follow the Reagan doctrine.  During the Florida primary campaign he has spent a good deal of time talking about his promise of the day, what used to be called pork barrel, in which you promise something to the voters of every place you go.

In the last campaign Barack Obama made about 546 such promises, most of which have now been deferred until a second term.  Newt has a habit of doing the same whether it is new shipping ports, highways, cleaning up the Florida Everglades, or whatever.  In fact during the last debate Mitt Romney rattled Newt by asking him how he could be making all  these promises when he knows the nation must cut spending radically.

But in recent days and during the debate Newt hit a new pinnacle of promises in an effort to win over the NASA Space community, which has a huge presence in Florida.  Since our current president has virtually abandoned the space program and we now have to hitch a ride with the Russians to the International Space station, NASA is in trouble.

Newt's promise is totally John F. Kennedyish and beyond.  For those of you not familiar with modern history when Kennedy was sworn in he promised to land a man on the moon before the end of the decade.  Since we had barely got a man into Earth orbit at the time it was a bold promise but fulfilled when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon in 1969.

Never one to miss a chance to one up history, Gingrich promised Florida he would build a space colony on the moon and 13,000 people would live there.  And he promised to have it built by the end of his second term.  Now Kennedy promised one man in a decade, Newt 13,000 in eight years.

Of course there are a few problems like we don't even have a way to get one person to the moon since the Space shuttle program was scrapped by Obama.  It would take years just to have a new shuttle, let alone the vast fleet of shuttles to move a city and 13,000 people to the moon.  Not to mention the trillions and trillions of dollars involved when we are nearing $16 trillion in debt today.

Newt has grandiose visions, but this one might be, well, out of this world.  Still, you have to acknowledge that Newt has done his best to give us all something to think about, and that is sharing a colony on the moon with the other aliens of the universe.

Jon Stewart, on The Daily Show immediately after the debate had the crowd rolling with the image of Newt Moon Face you see in this story and his proposal to make Ron Paul a cabinet member moon minister.

Ron Paul might have had the best answer to Newt's dream.  His response, I don't know about a moon colony but I know a lot of politicians I'd like to send there.  Add Mr. Moon and his moon colony to the entertainment we have experienced in this political season.

Obamaville - January 26 - The Last Florida GOP Debate Recap


Thursday President Obama took off on a five state junket stretching from coast to coast.  It was his government financed non-campaign trip to critical campaign swing states in an effort to sell his non-campaign State of the Union message where he laid out his election campaign platform.  Duh???

Anyway, he's out of town so the Republicans held their 18th debate of this early primary season.  Don't forget, there are still 46 more states to decide.  I, for one, think we have reached the point of intellectual saturation and constipation from this many debates.  Doesn't the media have anything else to do?  Why aren't they covering some hard news instead of trying to manufacture political news?

Maybe half a dozen would have been tolerable by this point, but one and a half dozen seems like gross over-kill.  They may serve a psychological purpose in giving that good old liberal lame street media a chance to dig deeper and deeper in trying to find weaknesses in the GOP field, and they burn up GOP financial resources thus saving Obama campaign money.

But Obama is going to have a billion campaign dollars to spend!  That is like a federal stimulus program.  Only two presidential campaigns in history have cost more than $270 million and they were both his, which just proves the point we are getting the best politician money can buy.  He will spend $1.8 billion in two elections to win a job that only pays $400,000 a year, or $3.2 million over 8 years.

As for the Republican debate that took place.

There were two winners in  the last Republican debate before the Florida primary Thursday night.  First was Marco Rubio, the rising Republican star Senator from Florida as both front runners, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, said they are considering him a leading candidate for a higher position than cabinet if they win the nomination.

Now the only job higher than the president's cabinet is vice president, so there is a very good chance the Republicans will be the first political party in American history to nominate a Hispanic for vice president.  A background story I did on Marco Rubio a couple of years ago follows this story.

The second winner was Romney who clearly won the debate even though Gingrich and Santorum gave him plenty of jabs.  He countered their attacks, stood his ground, and firmly and decisively controlled the outcome.

Of course he has a few more answers and positions he needs to fine tune before he takes on Obama in September but he made a giant step forward in fulfilling the uncomfortable role of aggressor in the debate.

More important, he began drawing sharp contrasts with Obama on the issues Obama cannot defend like his handling of the economy, jobs, health care, housing and energy.  After three years in office the president has little to show and a lot to promise.

Ron Paul was much sharper this debate although the moderators continue to ignore him much of the time, especially when follow up comments are given.  Still, his jokes kept thing from getting too intense and when Wolf Blitzer, the CNN moderator, pressed him about the problem if he was elected that he would be the oldest president in history, Paul shot back, be careful with your question, we passed an age discrimination law in America and you are close to it, to the laughter of the crowd.

When asked about his medical condition he replied he was healthy enough to challenge anyone on stage to a 25 mile bike ride across the Texas desert.  There was much more laughter.

Rick Santorum gave his best and most passionate but his responses were too complicated for viewers, at least me, to understand while others flat out disagreed with the typical person watching the debate.  Though it was his best effort, one could sense that his hopes for winning this time are rapidly fading and he is turning his attention to laying the groundwork for a 2016 campaign.

Ron Paul has clearly won the admiration and respect of Romney and Gingrich.  As Paul continues to attract youth and Independents, he becomes a potential crucial ally to the GOP winner because Paul can keep votes away from Obama.

Since Ron Paul really has no illusion about winning the presidency and is committed to building popular support for his agenda for America, he will be a winner.  People are hearing and believing in his message of eliminating debts, deficits, wars and foreign aid.  His individual freedom and fear of a massive central government bureaucracy, which is pretty much what we've got, are resonating with about 20% of the voters across both party lines and with Independent.

Newt Gingrich seemed almost asleep on stage.  Gone were the rapier slashes and sharp barbs.  Last debate NBC silenced the crowd and Gingrich just doesn't make it with his one liners when there is no response from the crowd.  There were no excuses in this last debate, CNN allowed the crowd to respond.  It was far more entertaining, interesting and informative than the clinical and sterile exercise NBC gave us last week.

Yet the master debater and historian seemed stunned by Romney's attacks and counter attacks and never got into a grove with the audience.  If he was slipping in the polls before the debate he stumbled in this chance to recover.

All four candidates managed to get in some good discussion about President Obama and his failed policies and to identify a far different approach to government they supported.

Mitt Romney was far more at ease in this debate than previous ones and this time the attacks inspired him as his responses and counter attacks were pretty much effective.  In the end he was the clear winner no manner what those radical socialist liberal and radical right wing conservative commentators on network and cable news say.

Now it is a long ways to the Republican National Convention in August and to the 1,144 delegates the winner needs at the convention so a lot could happen.  The news media also seems to forget that by the end of the Florida primary next Tuesday we will have only heard from 4 out of 50 states.

The following is a reprint of my earlier story introducing Marco Rubio to my readers.  You should learn about this young man and his family because he may play a big role in the future of the nation.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Rising GOP Stars - Marco Rubio, Cuban American Tea Party Patriot


Highly regarded for his principled, energetic and idea-driven leadership, Marco Rubio won a three way battle for U.S. Senate fighting off numerous trips by Obama and leading Democrats and efforts to split the GOP vote in 2010. His humble and honest acceptance speech after the victory was one of the highlights of all speeches by candidates. Take a moment to listen to this 39 year old rising star.
In 1971, Marco was born in Miami to Cuban-born parents who came to America following Fidel Castro’s takeover. When he was eight years old, Rubio and his family moved to Las Vegas, Nevada where his father worked as a bartender at the Sams Town Hotel and his mother as a housekeeper at the Imperial Palace Hotel. In 1985, the family returned to Miami where his father continued working as a bartender at the Mayfair House Hotel until 1997. Thereafter he worked as a school crossing guard until his retirement in 2005. His mother worked as a Kmart stock clerk until she retired in 1995.

Rubio attended South Miami Senior High School, graduating in 1989. He attended Tarkio College in Missouri for one year on a football scholarship before transferring to Santa Fe Community College and then graduating in 1993 with a bachelor of science from the University of Florida. He continued his studies at the University of Miami where he earned his juris doctor, cum laude, in 1996.

From 2000-2008, Rubio served in the Florida House of Representatives. During this period, he served as Majority Whip, Majority Leader and Speaker of the House, effectively promoting an agenda of lower taxes, better schools, a leaner and more efficient government and free market empowerment. Rubio also helped spearhead Florida’s congressional and legislative redistricting effort. He chaired the House Select Committee on Property Rights, which crafted national model legislation to protect private property rights following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Kelo v. City of New London decision that opened the door for eminent domain abuse.

During the two years prior to assuming the speakership, Rubio traveled around the state hosting “Idearaisers” to solicit Floridians’ input on ways to strengthen Florida. The 100 best ideas were compiled into a book entitled “100 Innovative Ideas for Florida’s Future” which served as the basis for his term. All 100 ideas were passed by the Florida House. Fifty-seven of these ideas ultimately became law, including measures to crack down on gangs and sexual predators, promote energy efficient buildings, appliances and vehicles, and help small businesses obtain affordable health coverage. Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich hailed the effort as “a work of genius.”

In addition to these ideas, Rubio championed a major overhaul of the Florida tax system that would have eliminated all property taxes on primary residences in favor of a flat consumption tax. The effort garnered national attention, with Grover Norquist, president of the fiscally conservative Americans for Tax Reform, praising Rubio as “the most pro-taxpayer legislative leader in the country.”

During his legislative career, Rubio also promoted efforts to develop a world-class public school curriculum, increase performance-based accountability, enhance school choice and target the socio-economic factors affecting chronic academic underperformance. He is also widely credited for blocking the expansion of gambling in Florida and shepherding the passage of historic energy legislation based on market incentives rather than government-imposed mandates.

Since the end of his tenure as Speaker, Rubio has resumed his law practice as a sole practitioner. He has also served as a visiting professor at Florida International University’s Metropolitan Center, worked as Florida Chairman of GOPAC and as a political analyst for Univision during the 2008 election cycle.

He has also continued his community and civic involvement, serving on the boards of the Latin Builders Association and Alafit International, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting global literacy. He also remains engaged in the West Miami community where he served as a city commissioner prior to being elected to the state house.

Rubio and his wife, Jeanette Dousdebes Rubio, have been married since 1998. They are the parents of four children: Amanda, Daniella, Anthony, and Dominic. They currently live in the working class city of West Miami, just four blocks from the home his parents moved the family to in 1985.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

North America for Americans - Friends and Neighbors


The United States, Mexico and Canada - 500 Years of Shared History

Nearly three and a half years ago I wrote an article calling for a North American for Americans that outlined a program to unify the United States, Canada and Mexico through a comprehensive treaty to share and protect each other in the areas of energy independence, human rights, economic collaboration, agriculture production and safety and justice for our citizens.

Since our discovery 520 years ago the three North neighbors have grown up and evolved in ways that will forever keep us tied together culturally, economically, politically and from a national security standpoint.

We have thousands of miles of common borders and millions of people have moved back and forth between these three nations. In spite of our differences, there is much that binds us together. Yet these closest and most consistent of allies have never embraced a policy that can serve the benefit of all three neighbors.

Our problems are common from economic stability to natural resource management, from national security to energy independence. If we shared resources there are numerous ways the three could benefit from the relationship.

Even our national priorities are similar. We all seek energy independence, security for our citizens, quality health care, better education, improved human rights, freedom to achieve success without financial or cultural discrimination, and the ability to pursue an American Dream.

We complement each other in ways we seldom appreciate. Canada has excess oil and we have excess natural gas. Mexico has oil but needs better health care, education and economic development. All three have abundant natural resources and the ability to share those resources and make all of us independent in a variety of ways.

Our problems are often ignored by politicians but obvious to compassionate citizens. Since I wrote the article nearly 45,000 innocent Mexican citizens have been brutally murdered in drug wars along the border with the USA. They were caught in the crossfire of criminal elements intent on controlling the huge illegal drug trade in the United States.

For some odd reason the number of Mexican deaths seems to have been ignored by the American media and politicians. So let us put it in perspective. Our total military deaths in Iraq, 1,887, and Afghanistan, 4,484, is 6,341 over the past decade. In less than half that time SEVEN TIMES as many Mexicans, 45,000, have been killed in a war for control of our southern border. Included are men, women and children, not soldiers.

We should be ashamed of such a travesty taking place under our very noses. Of course there is corruption in Mexico, just like on Wall Street and in Washington, DC. America is founded on the principle that crime does not pay and criminals should be hunted down and locked up. Why do we turn a deaf ear to the American crime that has settled just across the border to avoid the reach of our laws?

Immigration, or illegal immigration is another common problem between neighbors. If we helped Mexico develop an economic development program that provided fair wages and benefits to Mexican workers, there would be no need for them to cross the border illegally to seek a better life in America.

Much of the economic pressure on America comes from foreign dependence on oil and the price manipulation of crude oil and gas in world commodity markets. While we have reduced oil dependence to about 50%, largely because of the reduced use of gasoline in America due to the recession and economic instability, we still import 50% too much.

If congress and the president had the guts we could be energy independent already as the combined oil and natural gas resources of the US, Canada and Mexico are more than sufficient to meet all our energy needs for now and the future.

Obama blocked off shore drilling, has not supported natural gas development, and rejected the Keystone pipeline from Canada, three ill-advised moves that have undermined the hopes for US energy independence. It is time to get real. Our economy and our high standard of living, the envy of most nations, depends on abundant energy at reasonable prices. We have neither.

Our first economic concern should be energy independence from foreign control and manipulation. There must be an American strategy that includes our neighbors to the north and south, Canada and Mexico. Between the three (USA, Canada and Mexico) we have more than enough reserves of oil, natural gas and alternative energy capacity to meet our needs forever.

Between the three we have the technical skills, exploration capacity, financial resources and the spirit of freedom needed to create our own cartel to meet our future needs, to control inflation which is now driven by oil prices, to offset problems in one area (hurricanes) with increased production in another area (Canadian shale reserves), and to finally gain independence from foreign manipulation.

There should be no more Dubai's financed with the blood money from American consumers. In the future the horrendous transfer of wealth from the Americas to Arab and other nations including hostile energy producing nations, must stop, keep the massive wealth in America.

If the United States, Mexico and Canada decided our shared interests were far more important than our differences, that our heritages are bound together through generations, that our borders touch and that if the citizens of all three countries had good homes, good health and good jobs, there would be no need for illegal immigration, then we could all live in peace and harmony.

Well the money we wasted buying inflated oil could have accomplished just that and isn't it about time we used that money to do some good for the Americas? Stop pointing fingers and building walls and work together. Mexico and Canada have incredible oil and natural gas reserves like the United States. We all have a need and desire to help each other grow. And we sure don't need the rest of the world to interfere.

Years ago when we passed NAFTA our biggest mistake was not that it went too far, it didn't go far enough. Oh we moved jobs to Mexico and US manufacturers saved money, but at what cost? We didn't protect the workers down there like we protect them here. We didn't make sure the people of Mexico got a better standard of living, decent homes, food and housing and a better education for their children.

Maybe it is time we stepped back and did it right. Maybe we need an agreement based on a shared interest in creating energy independence for all three nations. One that assures that excess profits are invested in the people, in their standard of living and quality of life. Maybe we should stop glamorizing the excesses like the development of Dubai and start focusing on the real world which is the people living in our three countries in substandard conditions with inferior education and jobs in the wrong place.

Do our politicians acknowledge that gasoline prices have doubled since Obama was elected? Because of that our recession has been exasperated. How about the fact the American public knows what to do and have reduced the use of gas dramatically so they can afford to survive. We have seen the greatest decline in gas usage in history?

Do our politicians know while they spit out ideas like machine gun bullets and fail to take any action on anything, the people have said enough is enough and stopped driving so much, turned down the thermostats, got rid of the gas guzzlers, and reduced the amount of travel and entertainment?

Something is terribly wrong with the system. All the nuclear reactors in the world and all the alternative energy in the world will not overcome corruption in the marketplace, unfair business actions, malicious price manipulation of the futures market, and the evil intentions of oil speculators. Still the price of gasoline continues to rise.

Nuclear reactors, contrary to the vast experience of McCain, are still dangerous. Three Mile Island and Chernobyl were not jokes nor movies, they were real. I was at TMI for the multi-billion dollar clean up of that "harmless" accident. If $5-7 billion is harmless what is the world coming to? As for Chernobyl, I met the kids that were victims of radiation poisoning, the kids that must remain in the hot zone for life because they can contaminate other people. Of course a full life for many of them was about 10-12 years.

Of the radiation that was released by Chernobyl, over 70% fell onto the population of Belarus resulting in 800,000 children in Belarus and 380,000 in the Ukraine being at a high risk of contracting cancer or leukemiaIt will be another 24,000 years before the land is safe and the children no longer suffer.

Since the disaster there has also been an increase of 800% in the incidence of cancers in children living near to the reactor plus there has been a dramatic increase in the rate of babies born with substantial physical disabilities. Babies born limbless, deformed and with severe brain damage.

Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline and other groups in Britain help deprived children living in heavily contaminated areas affected by the Chernobyl disaster (primarily Belarus and Ukraine) by bringing them to the UK for a month-long respite holiday where they benefit from, among other things, clean air, good nutrition, physical safety and an environment free of radioactive contamination. I met the kids in Scotland. Is was estimated the month long holiday extended the lives of the children up to a year.

There is an accident in the Ukraine, in Eastern Europe, and sheep die a thousand miles away in Scotland. Land from nuclear testing over the years is a dead zone for hundreds of years. Nuclear waste at our nuclear plants sit stored at the plants, vulnerable to terrorist attack, because congress cannot get a nuclear disposal facility built. When a nuclear plant wears out, and they do just like everything else, the plant must be decommissioned and that cost is now more than the cost of building the plant in the first place. Nuclear has a role but must be used with great caution.

On the other hand, there are known reserves of oil and gas in North America sufficient to meet the our needs for 300 more years. We are not running out of oil tomorrow. The price manipulation of oil has nothing to do with the supply and demand, the normal supply and demand. Off shore drilling, even the very limited Alaskan drilling, can only help us be more independent. But we need refinery capacity to make the various types of gas and oil we need if we get the crude locally.

Together the three nations should develop and implement a long term North American Energy Independence plan that makes all known and unknown reserves available to the producers including the Gulf, Atlantic and Pacific deep water reserves, the limited areas in Alaska that should be developed, and the many other known reserves in the countries.

As new territory is made available for drilling refining capacity must be expanded in the Americas to produce the products we need. There must be substantial incentives for alternative energy efforts but we must not be so foolish as to think alternative energy can meet much of our current and future energy needs.

Significant savings can be generated by energy conservation programs. For example, energy savings of 50% or more can be made in our older housing stock. Multiply that by a few hundred thousand homes and a real dent in energy demand can be realized.

A meaningful partnership is needed between the three bordering nations, the energy companies in those nations, the conservation and alternative fuel companies in those nations, and the building code enforcement authorities in those nations. Such a partnership will protect and create jobs, stop foreign trade deficits, stop the transfer of wealth to Arab nations, and stop the out of control oil and gas prices.

Beyond that an economic partnership can raise the living standard in Mexico, end illegal immigration to the USA, ensure long term economic development in Canada, and provide the citizens of all three countries with better education, food, housing and security. Such a partnership can also end the senseless killing of tens of thousands of innocent Mexicans caught in the crossfire of America's drug war.

Isn't it worth the effort to make this happen? Won't this prove to the world that America is not only our brother's keeper but partner as well. Don't you think our closest neighbors and long term partners who helped build America should share in the goodness and glory of America? Together we have a chance to change history.