Monday, June 28, 2010

I'm Invisible!

I don't count. I know it now. When the new census figures come out, I will have nothing to do with congressional representation or even any of the ugly new innovations like federal funding and pork projects. All because I don't count.

The census doesn't want me, apparently. It all started with the Super Bowl, where, if you are an American citizen, you watched with me as "we" paid a million bucks or so to present a largely boring, uninformative "commercial" about our responsibility to answer our census questions. They said the packet was coming.

I waited for that packet. It never came. I saw all the guilt trips they paid for to shame us into sending a packet, and I faithfully watched my mailbox. It never came. I would have filled out the short questionnaire, but I never got one. Then I heard the threat: that if we didn't fill out the package, federal employees would come by and ask us the questions in person. Now, as we near the halfway point of this constitutionally-mandated census year, those people still haven't come by. Because to Washington, I obviously don't exist.

I tried getting them to send me a packet or to come by. I went online and looked at the FAQ for the census, but evidently my question is not "frequently" asked: "What do I do if no one knows I'm here?" The site was replete with information about how to get jobs with the census and what was going to be done with the info, and how to recognize a valid census worker if one came by. But there was no information on how to get myself counted and on the census rolls.

I don't exist. This isn't the first time I've found that out. When the entire US TV industry went digital, I found out I didn't qualify for one of those government-funded digital converters because I don't live in this house and I don't exist. But enough of that. If you want that story, you can read my other post on that here. But I realize now that in Washington I don't exist.

I keep hearing the boasting about what the census will do, but I seriously question the results we are going to receive. Every day I'm hearing about fraud, about fabricated figures and forged forms, and we all know about the partisan arguments that are coming when we finally get ready to crunch numbers. We have learned that in the double-speak of American partisan politics, numbers really don't mean anything until someone has "processed" them for us, made them palatable to the unwashed masses (read "anyone outside the Beltway").

So do me a favor. When they give you the final numbers for the US population, add four to the total. That's how many people have not yet been reported here. This megabillion dollar debacle is not getting an accurate count at all. No one has even bothered to look for the people where I live. And they have not given us a way to get in touch with the rest of the world, even in cyberspace.

Will I actually be represented in Congress for the next ten years? Why would that happen? It hasn't happened for a long time anyway. It's a strange feeling, being invisible and all, but I somehow think I'm not alone. How many millions of other people never got a form in the mail, were never visited by anyone? I know my name is on the roll somewhere. Publisher's Clearing House found me out here, even though I've never played their game. And DirecTV and Verizon Wireless and anyone else that can find profit out here. But let's face it: I'm not profit. I'm not a minority, nor do I represent any special interest group. I'm just me, and my wife and two kids currently living at home are just -- well, "they."

Oh, I need to mention one more thing. I went by the local HQ of the census office that I found nearest my address. It looked like an old office, temporarily rented for the year. I went by making sure it was not a holiday or lunch hour. I thought I could just pick up a form there. I'll never know, however, if I could have gotten one.

They were closed.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dressed for Success?

The strangest thing has been happening to me for the last ten years. I will be in a Home Depot looking for a saw, and a total stranger will approach me and ask where the light bulbs are. When I say "I don't know," he looks at me disgustedly and walks away. At the supermarket, I'm supposed to know where the pimentos are. A couple of months ago, I was on my way to Dallas and stopped at a popular convenience store along the interstate. I was getting a cup of coffee from the self-serve machine when a girl about twelve years old approached me and said, "We're out of cups," and pointed to the soft drink machine. My look of puzzlement is probably what caused her to clarify herself: "I need you to get some more."

I looked around and all I saw were coffee cups. I pointed to the checkout counter, five deep in customers, and suggested she ask the clerk there. She turned back and addressed her mom, about six feet away, "He won't help me!"

I used to think I must just have the "store employee" look. Some people say I constantly exude an air of self-confidence and poise, which is really a good act, because I seldom feel that way inside. For ten years I have accepted this as my cross to bear, that I look like a store manager, no matter where I am. It is only recently that I've figured out why I look like a middle-aged chain store manager.

My epiphany came that day in the convenience store when I heard the angry mother say, "Well, let's find someone who will help us." She took her daughter by the hand, staring darts through me all the time. Her flip flops snapped angrily against her heels, and all I saw was Mom from the back, pink shorts and white tank top not quite covering the star tatoo that peeked out between them. I looked around the store and realized that I was the only one that was "dressed up."

Don't get me wrong. I once went four whole years without wearing a tie. I don't usually have a coat and tie, nor nice slacks. The only reason my shoes are not from WalMart is because they don't carry large half-sizes, but I don't like to use three days' salary on shoes. I was not dressed like an executive. My problem was that I had on long pants, a nice button-type long-sleeved shirt that was tucked into those pants, and shoes with socks. If someone had been looking for a potential executive in the store, I came the closest.

It's not "dressing up" that makes you obvious; when you don't "dress down," you stick out like a sore thumb. Long pants and a button shirt will get someone asking you where you keep the mayonnaise every time. It wasn't too long ago that everyone dressed up. Watch the black and white TV shows, and you find out that, evidently, in the fifties and earlier, even the bad guys -- the ones that murdered and stole and kidnapped -- didn't go out in the morning without their hair combed, a nice sport jacket with matching tie, and a hat to set the mood.

When I first started to fly on commercial airlines, it appeared that people took time to dress up for the trip. I haven't flown in years now, but I realize that now, people don't bother to dress up to fly. Just a pair of warmups, or some shorts, sandals, and a worn-out witty saying t-shirt is all you need to get from Dallas to Chicago. I have also learned that people don't really see the need of a bath before flying, either.

At one point, people dressed up to go out to eat. Maybe putting a nice jacket and tie on your eight-year-old son was a little much. I'll concede that. But now, that's not a problem. Many times my wife and I have looked forward to eating at a nice restaurant, and dressed for the occasion, only to later have the table next to us occupied by a couple who obviously just got off the tennis courts. Maybe I have a weak stomach, but a man's pasty white hairy leg does nothing for the KC sirloin that just got set in front of me. And he's set back from his table, leaning backwards, tennis shoe propped on the knee so I can see the whole show.

We have a problem with customer service anyway. Not many people can find a locally owned store where the proprietor is someone you went to high school with, who takes pride in his store. Now the boss is usually upstairs on the phone with China while short term minimum wage kids walk the floors below. They don't know what size handle fits that particular hammer. Then here you come, probably dressed better than the guy upstairs talking to China, and you are swarmed by people hungry for customer service.

Most Americans fear someone who dresses up. My wife, who enjoys dresses, has been asked before why she thinks she has to wear them all the time. It seems they make some people "nervous." I was once at a function where the host was appalled that I had worn jeans, which I felt were casual enough. He had on shorts, and thought I was deranged because I didn't. "Why didn't you wear shorts?" he asked. I wanted to tell them that it was because it had been a long time since I had been six, but I know times have changed. Before our little group set out on our jaunt, he excused himself for a moment, and returned with a pair of shorts for me. I smilingly pointed to my larger waist and the nice shoes I had, and said "I'll survive."

People feel threatened when you "dress up." Churches seem ashamed of "Sunday go to meeting" clothes now, and some will even make you check your tie at the door; after all, we don't want to "run people off." It seems the only time we dress up now is when we are high school kids in academic competition, or adults who have to face the judge on a felony charge.

Is it any wonder it's hard for my wife and daughter to find dresses? After all, no one buys them now. We are a generation who has forgotten the basic rules of body cover. When it's 25 degrees outside and I see a grown man at subway in shorts, sandals, and a "US Drinking Team" t-shirt, I know something has snapped somewhere.

As long as I can find my wardrobe, I will continue to wear the clothes I like. It's who I am. Some day, I may have to go to Salvation Army or Goodwill to find them, but that's not too much of a problem. However, I really need to go back to the grocery store and memorize the aisles so I can tell the tattooed lady what aisle the toilet paper is on.

But it's a small price to pay.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Who's Paying for This?

Here is the latest update on who is not paying taxes: 47% of Americans. A direct quote from a story on Yahoo News today says, "About 47% will pay no federal income taxes at all for 2009. Either their incomes were too low, or they qualified for enough credits, deductions, and exemptions to eliminate their liability. That's according to projections by the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research organization."

Reading further in the article, we find the upper limits of tax freedom: "a family of four making as much as $50,000 will owe no federal income tax for 2009, as long as there are two children younger than 17, according to a separate analysis by the consulting firm Deloitte."

Let's review. First, nearly half of all Americans will pay no tax this year; secondly, it is possible to make as much as $50,000 and not have any tax liability at all. Why do I keep hearing about the "tax burden of the poor?"

Now, let's do the math, and I will say up front that this is sloppy and inaccurate, since I am not an accomplished statistician. Let's just take, oh, one trillion dollars. That won't quite cover the "stimulus money" this year, and doesn't even touch anything else, like grants, subsidies, military spending, congressional and staff salaries, and the list could go on. Now, we are told that only a little more than half of all Americans will pay tax, and I assume that means those who would have been tax eligible. For argument's sake, let's round the population off to 300,000,000. Now, let's assume that the average family has three people, so let's say 100,000,000 families. Then, let's say that in every family, both wife and husband work and are tax eligible. That makes 200,000,000 potential taxpayers. Now, let's cut that in half, and say that there are only 100,000,000 that will pay taxes from last year. Let's be fair and divide only the stimulus package costs by those taxpayers. Let's see...that's $1,000,000,000,000 dollars and 00 cents, divided by 100,000,000. That comes out to a per-person tax burden of 10,000 dollars each. With two earners per family, that's 20,000 dollars burden per taxpaying family.

Remember, this is just federal income tax, not FICA social security. Remember that this tax burden will be shouldered only by those who make $50,000 per year, more or less; that's a thousand a week. But also remember that, in my example, we have two earners, so it's actually much more. I'm even letting them live together without marriage so they can get that tax break; in spite of Republican promises, married people still pay more for the privilege of being married to each other.

And again, remember that we've only paid for the "economic stimulus" package. I know my figures are way off, and sadly, they are off in the wrong direction. If we were only to pay for the "stimulus" bill, the per-person rate would actually be higher.

We need to acknowledge that taxes are no longer the major source of revenue for our federal spending gone wild. Printing and electronic generation are where we are getting our money. The major purpose of income tax and the IRS is to regulate behavior -- behavior of businesses, organizations, and individuals. And now with "Health Care Reform," we find that the IRS will also be in charge of making sure we buy insurance out of our own pockets -- that is, those who are taxed. The rest of our country will be furnished all or part of their insurance by the half that work and earn, who invest and improve their positions.

So, who is paying for this? Well, simply put, it would appear that 53% of you who read this are. Of course, literacy leans toward higher earning potential, so if you found this blog and are reading it, there is a good chance that more like 70-80% of you would appear to be paying for this. But the real answer is, "all of us," including our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and so on, because this rampant manufacture of artificial dollars will inflate prices and shrink the dollar to the point that a box of facial tissue will cost 20 dollars in a few years; of course, we've already had a taste of that since it already costs that much in a hospital room right now.

And now we have the truth about the IRS in its fullest form. The "I" is not true, since this is not "internal," but a private firm, unelected and un-approved, doing the work of collecting money; the "S" is silly, since it is not a "service" at all. Services provide things. The IRS doesn't even provide billing, receipts, or tax counseling. And the "R" is also false. There is no "revenue" in this work. The major source of revenue is coming from somewhere else.

I will continue to "render unto Caesar" since my faith and ethics tell me to. But my citizenship in this country, for now, allows me to speak out. I don't want to shoot anyone, nor do I want to break the law. But I would be remiss in my duties if I did not speak up.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My Plan to Get Rich

I had been planning this for a while, but now that the last brick is in place with universal health care, I'm ready to jump in with both feet. I found out why I'm having trouble making ends meet: I'm too rich. I am one of the greedy, filthy class that actually wants to pay for things out of my earnings, but this will happen no more.

I'm currently working two jobs, and that's two jobs too many. I have discovered some wonderful things that can replace those jobs:
  • Lonestar. Not the beer or the state. It's a magic card. I only noticed one recently. There is a secret slot in the Walmart check out line. If you run a card down the highly visible slot, you will lose money. A Lonestar card goes into a less obvious slot before you buy, and just stays there. Then the checker scans items and if it beeps, you get billed zero, and get to take the item home. Sometimes it makes another noise, and you have to pay for that, but it's not too bad. I figure that card could save us a couple of thousand per month. Money that I plan on not making any more.
  • Section 8. I thought that was what Klinger wore a dress for, and it was to get out of the army. But now I know better. When you get a section 8, someone else pays your rent and utilities. I see apartments advertising that they welcome "section 8" people, so they must be a popular bunch. I could live in a house without having to pay any rent or utilities. Now there's a money saver. I wonder if they help with cable.
  • 1040 EZ. I don't get to file one of those because I have too many jobs and make too much money. I have to file the regular 1040, the one that penalizes stupid people like me for trying to make it on my own. You go to one of those cash advance places, and they look downright disappointed when you show them the 1040 instead of the EZ, because they know there's less money to be skimmed from you with that thing. But after I quit my jobs, I will be able to get an EZ. It's free and at the post office. I looked this year for the schedule C, the SE, and some forms starting with the number "8" that I had to use, that the post office doesn't have them. Next year, I'm getting a free EZ from the post office, and sending it in. I expect money.
  • Tax credits. I have been so stupid. I did not realize that if you earn money, you have to pay the government, but if you don't, the government pays you! Millions of Americans this year will get money from the IRS even though they didn't pay taxes. All you have to do is quit earning and this money can be yours. Now I did get some tax credits for the three kids I have in college, but those jobs messed me up again. If I don't have these two jobs, I will get more help for my kids. But if the don't, I'm thinking about telling them about this too. They will like me more. I'm always on their case about getting a job, about working harder. No more of that. My goal for all my kids is that they be able to sum up their lives on a 1040 EZ every year, and get paid for it. And get medical care. And a house.

It has been a real wake-up call for me. I cannot believe how stupid I have been. When I think about all the time I could have stayed home while my kids were growing up, how I could have tended my yard and read some good books and watched Oprah, I realize that I have thrown my life away. The benevolent government tried to educate me with this, but I had listened to my grandparents and been brainwashed. I thought people still earned money and used it to take care of themselves.

I'm kind of old to be starting, but I'm going to be a good citizen from now own. I will trust my loving, benevolent, big government to care for me. I will trust them for a roof, heat and cooling, and a meal on my table (I wonder where I go to get a free table to put it on?)

My moment of awakening happened this week. I have been wasting several hundred dollars a month on insurance, and still, when we go to the doctor, I have to add to that. I have been tempted to just quit paying insurance, but Nancy Pelosi says that, since I still make money, I can be sent to jail for doing that.

But no problem. I'm quitting both my jobs. I will no longer be earning. I'm getting a section 8 and a Lonestar, and I'm going to use a 1040 EZ so I can get money in April. The icing on the cake is that I will also be getting medical care. It will be so nice not to have those monthly insurance payments any more. All I have to do now is go to a clinic and show them my government card. They will take care of me.

In case you are wondering about other items, don't worry. I am not letting my wife quit her job. It will be enough to take care of the things I want, like a car and a DVD player to connect to my 60 inch television that I'm going to buy with my EZ money next year. If I can't find any way to get the government to pay for my gas, she can. She can also buy some luxuries and other nice things. If she can't pay for these things, I'm counting on those of you who still have jobs to take up the slack, because that's your responsibility.

I'm just sorry I took so long to get with the program. I'm going house-hunting as soon as I quit my jobs. But don't worry, readers. I will keep in touch. This computer is going with me. I believe it's every American's right to have unlimited high-speed internet. For those of you who work, like I used to, well, it's your privilege to pay for it. Thanks in advance.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Much Ado Over Nothing?

Everybody get ready to duck! America as we know it is about to be irreversibly damaged! Is it a threat from Iran? Is it a new plan by the Taliban? No, it's much more subtle than that. It is an attempt at brainwashing that will sneak into our living rooms through the TV screen. This propaganda will slither through and past a modicum of entertainment, and most vulnerable, innocent Americans will never know what hit them. They will be at their most susceptible, full of chips and dip, sandwiches and pizza, colas and beer. Some will feel guilty because they skipped church or lied to the night shift coordinator about being sick.

Then, it will come onto the horizon, when we least expect it, like an Al-Quaeda attack. Maybe it will just be a lull in the action, or an official time out to review a pass play to see if the receiver had control of the ball, when suddenly, BOOM, it will detonate right in front of our families, our dear friends, our children, our pets!

It will look innocent enough, of course. One of the people will look like a middle-aged grandmother type, the kind that makes you an apple pie or serves samples on a toothpick at Costco. Standing near her will be a dashing young man, handsome, athletic, likeable -- wait a minute -- that's a football player! Tim Tebow and his mom are actually agents of a subversive group that wants to control your mind, impose their archaic, outdated beliefs on you.

Actually, we don't know yet what they will say. The commercial has never been seen. They may say "eat your vegetables" or something like that, but the "hot buttons" of this event have already sent Those Who Are Sworn to Protect Us from the Cradle to the Grave (short version: "white liberals") into a pre-emptive frenzy to save us from the damage this unlikely pair will do.

Let's cut to the chase. Basically, Jehmu Greene, "spokes-person" in opposition to this commercial, along with "women's" groups, would like you to know the truth: Tim Tebow did not deserve to live. A medical professional had told his mother that she needed to abort, and that foolish woman did not obey the doctor's advice, and went ahead and gave birth to the little parasite.

There is a huge uproar. CBS is being condemned for accepting the $2 million plus that the ad will cost. Thirty seconds for a mother to tell about choosing life. Now I've never seen the commercial either, but I'm willing to bet paper money that she will not say a word about shooting doctors, picketing clinics, or even overturning Roe v Wade. She's just going to say, probably, something like "I chose to have my son and I'm glad I did."

This is very uncomfortable for the so-called pro-"choice" people, who refuse to think that Pam Tebow made a "choice" as well. They are much more comfortable talking about a fetus, about a woman's freedom, about "rape, incest, and life of the mother." They do not like candidates for abortion who win Heisman trophies and national championships, who get college degrees. This makes them very antsy.

So, the outcry continues. In an article in USA Today, columnist Michael Hiestand actually said this will be "the most controversial TV ad -- perhaps the only really controversial ad -- to ever air during America's biggest TV show." I have so many questions for Michael, but I guess we will get to the big one: Michael, have you ever even watched any Super Bowl commercials? One that comes to mind would suffice, I guess. A couple of years ago, one commercial featured two "manly" types working on a car who began to eat the same Snickers bar, and it ended in a man-to-man kiss, followed by both guys trying to do something "masculine." This commercial would be a good candidate for Guinness' record book. It made everybody mad -- conservatives, Christians, and on the other side, gay and lesbian groups.

But that commercial is nothing, it appears, compared to the one that will air this year. A mother will tell about the decision to give birth. Now that's controversial! The very idea that the media would even call this controversial shows how out of touch they are with real human beings. Every year, real people wade through the famous Super Bowl commercials. Whether it's busty women advertising a job website, clumsy fools touting their own brand of beer, or the Mormons wanting to send you "Bible: the Sequel," everyone gets a say.

The Left is the first to demand "First Amendment" rights. That means that Rosie O'Donnell can complain on "The View" that she cannot marry her girlfriend. That means that anything is fair game, unless, of course, you don't agree with the Left. Then all bets are off.

Some people have even complained about "Focus on the Family" spending 2.8 million dollars for a thirty second ad. After all, that money could have gone to help the poor in Haiti, they add, kind of like our friend Judas whining about the oil poured on Jesus' feet (see my earlier blog post).

Maybe they have a point. That much money could go a long way in Haiti. But remember, people are going to spend that much touting beer and colas, job sites and semi-clad women, candy and chips and who knows what else. What about the players, many of whom make much more than $2.8 million for playing a kid's game. Then there are those skybox seats, valued in the thousands and tens of thousands, or just the regular stadium seats, any of which could buy several Haitian families a week's worth of meals.

How about the obscene amount of money that will be paid to "The Who," singing middle-aged songs from the seventies while a multi-million dollar spectacle of lights and fireworks explodes around them. You know, a marching band would have done the halftime show for free, and all that money could have gone to Haiti.

Hypocrisy, thy name is liberalism. I imagine a sheriff in the old West. He tells the posse, "string him up. He looks like he wants to steal a horse." The Left has done that. They want this thirty seconds of life silenced! Banned! Outlawed!

And they haven't even seen the commercial.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Something's Wrong Here

This is not an original thought with me, but it expresses just how I feel. A blogger in another forum today said, and I paraphrase, "Here I sit in Texas, worried about a senatorial election in Massachusetts, and I realize this is not the way it's supposed to be."

I feel exactly the same way. The design of the Constitution is such that a Texan should have absolutely no concern over a Massachusetts senatorial election. Even a neighboring state like New Mexico or Louisiana should not concern a Texan.

Yet today, and I write this before the outcome of the Massachusetts contest for Kennedy's throne is known, the whole nation is holding its breath over this one special election for a partial senate term. Both sides of the aisle are pulling for the win. Special interests from all over the country have been in the state pushing their side of the issue. The president of the United States has gone to Massachusetts to plead his case, and our special envoy to Haiti, the honorable William J. Clinton, last week after the earthquake in Port au Prince, flew to Massachusetts for what he saw as a greater disaster, a deeper crisis: that Ted Kennedy's heir apparent seemed to have dropped her crown.

In the original design of the constitution, states were to conduct their own business, including commerce, health care, education, et al, but somewhere -- somewhen, the monster of federalism has reared its ugly head.

It is preposterous that a Massachusetts senatorial election should send aftershocks to Texas, or for that matter, that a Texas senatorial election should send them to Massachusetts, but that is the sad state of affairs in our nation today. During the Lincoln administration, a grammatical change was imposed on our country. Before Lincoln, the correct sentence was, "The United States are..." Since that time, it has been "The United States is..."

Before, we were a union of states, unified for the purpose of mutual defense and support. We relegated such important issues as the coinage of money, the making of treaties with foreign nations, and the declaration of war to the federal government, an entity which could do nothing without the permission of the states.

Somewhere in and around the 14th Amendment, that perception changed. Now, the states are minor principalities that can do nothing without the permission and consent of the federal government.

So, we have a monstrous "health care bill," as some like to call it. It is full of pork, bribes, corruption, and under-the table deals. Both Massachusetts and Texas will have to fork over extra money -- we're talking several zeroes -- to Nebraska and Louisiana because two senators were bought for their votes. We all have to pay for the bribes.

This bill, which is now despised by both rank and file Democrats and Republicans, is being forced upon us by a beltway minority who are determined to have their way. Harry Reid is so despised in his own state that he may not survive his own party's primary, and he certainly will not survive past the November elections, and this lame duck has been put in charge of this Jabba-the-Hutt legislation.

So I sit in Texas and shouldn't even care what they do in Massachusetts, but along with sane people, both Democratic and Republican, I am concerned. We have seen what a super-majority can do on either side of the aisle, and it is not pretty.

Would it have been this way even a hundred years ago? Probably not. In 1910, each state decided how to select senators; most of them were chosen by their states' legislatures. It is safe to say that, if that were still the process, maybe 75% of the senators we have today would be doing something else. Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd would certainly have not experienced their obscenely long terms in office.

The constitution was not meant to be this way, and it was the seventeenth amendment, passed in 1912, that diluted the purpose of the senate, turning it into a "light" version of the house, with longer terms of office.

When this election is finally decided in Massachusetts, it will heavily influence how we live in Texas, in California, in Alaska and Hawaii, and in all the other 49 states. Seriously, a senatorial election in Massachusetts should not even affect life in Maine or Connecticut.

We need a revival of the tenth amendment. States need to be allowed to do what they were intended to do. Be it prohibition, the income tax, or the fugitive slave law, every time the federal government has taken over a state issue, even with good intentions, it has only made things worse. Do we want our health care, flawed as it is, to be run by the same people who have given us the IRS, the US Postal Service, and Amtrak? Who really wants that?

I am not nearly as bothered about who might or might not win tonight in Massachusetts as I am bothered about the fact that it even concerns my way of life in Texas. It ought not to be so!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dropping the Ball Big-Time

I did not think it was possible to do it this fast. Oh, I knew it was possible to accomplish, but this was a speed record. In one of my earliest posts in this blog, I commented on the Republican party and the great election sweep of 1994, which was followed by a Republican president in 2001. Suddenly, this party was in the driver's seat: both houses of congress, the White House, and the prospects of three or four new Supreme Court justices.

They had a mandate including such new ideas as the "Contract with America," involfing term limits, the line item veto, and a return of tenth amendment power to the states. But what happened when they got there? It must be the swampy air of the Potomac. It seems that most people's minds lose IQ points when they get to Washington.

Fast forward to 2008. The Republicans had already lost their majorities; now they lost the White House, and gave up even more congressional and senate seats. I looked back on those fourteen Republican "golden years," and I could find nothing -- nothing -- of the "Contract with America." What we had was greed, pork, corruption, increased spending, and general incompetence. Their brightest new stars, such as J.C. Watts and Steve Largent, had disappeared earilier, seemingly disillusioned by "business as usual" politics of their own party in the Capitol cloakroom. The "pro-life" party had allowed abortion in America to increase; the "pro-family" party had stood by apathetically as radical "gay" rights groups had made violent invasions into the institutions of family, religion, education, and state.

But it took Republicans fourteen years to make a shambles of their party. Democrats will do it in two. They may be candidates for Guiness' Book of World Records. Whether I agree with their principles or not, they have failed miserably to accomplish anything at all. The war continues, and they promised it would be over. All of the special interest groups: abortion rights feminists, gays and lesbians, and government-controlled education radicals, have all been disappointed. Many now call Mr. Obama "Bush-Lite," and wonder what happened to the other people that they sent to Washington in the November sweep of 2008.

One case in point is the obscene "health care" bill, which no one has read, the majority of Americans don't want, and whose contents are being kept "top secret" by Reid and Pelosi. The bill has already cost us more than we can imagine, and if it comes to pass, the gigantic pork-filled earmarks will bankrupt our descendants four generations from now. We have watched them spend over two trillion dollars with no visible improvement to the economy, the job situation, or the general welfare of Americans. The only ones who seem to have benefited at all are those large Wall Street businesses and money-collecting banks that the Democrats told us were so evil and were in "cahoots" with Republicans.

Harry Reid's numbers are so low that even though he's from Nevada, I don't know how his own Las Vegas could give him any odds on winning. Yet he says it's all "okay." Massachusetts, where I didn't even know any Republicans lived, including Mitt Romney, the Democratic party has been seriously embarrassed. Scott Brown may not win next week, but the fact that the Democratic Party has ramped up money and publicity to try to protect "Ted Kennedy's seat" says to me that the Republicans have already won this election, even if Brown does not, by making it an actual race. Most people, conservatives included, thought it would be a coronation for Kennedy's heir apparent. The very idea that it is even close is frightening to the Democratic party, which really thought it had been given a carte blanche by American voters.

The free-wheeling spending, the abuse of power, and the wholesale breaking of promises has destroyed the faith that the electorate put in the Democratic party in 2008. Everywhere you look, you hear of "buyer's remorse," especially among independents.

America has even been disillusioned by the so-called "independents." Whether they are "blue dog" Democrats like Nebraska's Ben Nelson, pseudo-Republicans like Arlen Specter claimed to be, or self-aggrandizing fence-sitters like Joe Leiberman, we have realized that these people were not really "independent" thinkers, but people who realized their significance as "swing votes" and used that power to obtain special favors. Nelson is probably the biggest traitor with a close second being Louisiana's Mary Landrieu, who both pretended to have the interest of the nation at heart, to be fiscal conservatives and social moderates, but who, when offered literally hundreds of millions of dollars in state pork, quickly abandoned their own convictions and those of their constituencies for a bribe.

We have watched as Democratic leaders have cut special deals for special interest groups. Perhaps the most obscene is organized labor, which was rightfully incensed at the tax penalty that is proposed for those who actually have good health insurance. They were quick to back down when the Senate leadership promised them that unions would be exempt for a few years.

This Democratic session has been anything but "democratic." They have lived off the "me first" mentality that they were so fond of accusing Republicans of having in the Reagan years. What we as Americans have to look forward to is an ever-burgeoning, gigantic debt, which realistically, any economist will tell you our collected taxes can not even pay the interest on the interest of what we owe. This bill will further erode what little medical care we have in rural areas -- any district of less than 250,000 people -- and consequently will further crowd and congest the hospitals and emergency rooms of our metropolitan areas.

Republicans are gleefully clapping their hands at the gains they will make in November, but most Americans are not. Republicans will gain ground, of course, but we had a fourteen year lesson in what will happen to them. As I see the same tired, failed poster children of the last Republican takeover, Newt Gingrich being their leader, I realize that we have nothing to look forward to in this party.

The best we can hope for in current conditions is a "draw." We need a 50/50 senate, and a house with a less than ten margin either way. Such close numbers tend to deflate partisan arrogance and encourage the bipartisan cooperation that we heard Democrats boasting about so much in early 2009.

But can I close this by dreaming a little? What we really need is a purge. We need to vote out incumbents in both houses. The best way to do it, of course, would be to put third party candidates in the house and senate. I'm not talking about "independents." There is a special arrogance there, and I haven't really seen an indepentent recently who wasn't either a traitor to his former party or a boot licker to it. Some have even been both.

What we need is to elect people from identifiable third parties. The Libertarian and Constitution party come to mind, though if you are more to the left, there are others, such as the Green party that I guarantee will do more for environmental causes than any Democrat with lobby money in his pocket.

At the very least, Americans should seriously consider other political parties besides the "big two." Republicans and Democrats, in spite of all their differences, work together on one issue: keeping third parties off state ballots. Even if you don't want to vote for them, you can sign petitions, or start one, to get more parties permanently on your state's ballot. Encourage people to run for positions at all levels in these parties. The Democrats and Republicans are counting on you to ignore the other columns on the ballot. They both want "status quo," and we will never get any new, fresh ideas until we are willing to break out of the two party mold.

My dream for a better America is to wake up on a January morning where no political party has a majority, where politicians must come together and work out bills, rather than draw up obscene agreements behind locked doors. It is a dream I hope to see fulfilled in my lifetime. It is a dream that would make me supremely happy next January.