Thursday, April 23, 2009


(The following was published in the Newsleader on April 17, 2009)

President Obama has sent his budget to Congress and it contains some 635 billion dollars identified as a down payment on Universal Health Care. There are those in this country who are diametrically opposed to any government interference in health care. Still others are ready for the government to step in and make health care affordable for all Americans. This column will seek to examine some of the arguments for and against Universal Health Care.

A majority of Americans have some form of health insurance, mostly through their employers. Older Americans and some people with disabilities have Medicare. Veterans of the military have available coverage through the Veterans Administration. There is, however, a reported 40 million people who remain uninsured and we are told that number is growing with the increase in unemployment. Even with the number of insured people, many face financial ruin when catastrophic illness strikes. The reason, of course, is the cost of their care.

So with these facts in place, what are we to think of a government sponsored medical coverage for all Americans?

Last week I learned of a baby who needs a heart transplant. I understand the baby has no chance without the transplant. The technology exists to perform the surgery. This is where it gets down right obscene. The operation will cost 1.5 million dollars. Are they crazy? The parents apparently have health insurance, but the insurer will not pay for this surgery. Even if they would, the co-pays would bankrupt the vast majority of people in this country. Most states in America have no death penalty even for the vilest of killers. Does this mean then that there is a death penalty for innocent little babies? What is supposed to be our reaction? How can we morally allow this baby to die when there exists technology to repair the deficiency?

What good is a technology if less than 2% of Americans can afford it? If I were to offer you my product and by its cost virtually 98% of possible buyers would be eliminated from buying, how long do you think I would stay in business?

Throughout our history medical care has been a commodity that is sold on the open market. Doctors and pharmacies have engaged in normal retail business. Hospitals have, for the most part, been for profit businesses. Many doctors probably believe today that they are entitled to six or even seven figure incomes. I think that is coming to an end. I think the medical industry has priced itself out of the market. The introduction of this budget should inform all who would listen that a new day is dawning.

We have all heard the arguments that research is expensive, that doctors have to spend many years in expensive schools and are entitled to large incomes. There seems to be plenty of justification for huge costs associated with medical care.

I think if Universal Health Care comes about, doctors will be civil servants. Costs and fees will be set by the government. Hospital costs will be brought back to reality.

Will that stop research? Will medical technology come to an end? Will doctors go into another line of work? Perhaps to some extent, but like all changes, normalcy will return. Medical care will still be available, it will just be cheaper.

I have the good fortune of being treated by the VA. As a veteran, I have a contract with the government for my health care. If our government can come up with a Universal Health Care program anywhere similar to the VA, we all would be better for it. My care has been second to none.

Here I have not given any concrete answers, just more questions. Changes are coming though. Will it be better than what we have? I hope so. As I asked earlier, what good is the research if so few can afford it?

Ron Scarbro February 28, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

April's Moron of the Month

I have had the pleasure for the last two weeks of having my grandchildren visiting. During the visit the matter of my blog came up. These kids are 11 and 8 and are very computer savvy. When we discussed the “Moron of the Month”, they had some questions. “How do you decide Grandpa? Can we help you pick?” I explained that the biggest problem I had was not the shortage of candidates, but the abundance of them. This month is certainly no exception. With the Liberals in charge it gets very easy.

For April the choice is clear. She is Janet Napolitano, head of Homeland Security and former Governor of Arizona. In the far out event that you have not followed the news regarding Ms. Napolitano, she and her department have issued a report and a BOLO (police talk for be on the lookout) to police departments for would be terrorists or candidates who might become terrorists. Her report, which she signed off on, indicated that the place to find these terrorists is in returning veterans from war zones. She has determined that these gun loving right wingers are prime candidates for becoming terrorists.

The liberals in our society apparently think anyone who doesn’t toe the mark and jump on their band wagon of leftism is a threat to our country and to our way of life. There is a threat all right but it is not from returning veterans. No, it is from those who believe that anyone who thinks like a traditional American and believes in the Constitution as written, who believes in the second amendment, and who might possibly attend church, could become a problem. The idea that those who have put their lives on the line for our freedom, giving up their freedoms in the process could somehow now become a threat to our government is just ridiculous. Without their sacrifice, Ms. Napolitano, we would have no country. Without their selfless decision to defend this country, Ms. Napolitano, you would have no job. Your willingness to issue the statement to police departments all over the country warning about returning veterans qualifies you as April’s “Moron of the Month”.

Ms. Napolitano did get on television and issue the standard non-apology apology, but it fell flat on its face. If she didn’t agree with the report she issued, why did she sign off on it? Did she read it? Did she really think that the citizens of this great country would just sit by and let this nonsense go unchallenged? Since the report has been out, Napolitano has been crucified by veterans groups, many Members of Congress, and Americans everywhere. Her own party has been up in arms as well.

I am on record saying that I would not be critical of President Obama unless and until he screws up. I will continue that pledge but, somebody in that Administration better be paying attention to what the underlings are doing. At their current rate of travel, they could be the shortest running government in modern times.

I want President Obama to succeed. I want our country to succeed. This is America. If I wanted to live like a European, I’d move to Europe but like most of you I want America to be America. I want my freedoms protected not squandered. I expect veterans to be respected for their sacrifice and their service. I don’t want to be embarrassed by some moron who happens to have a high level job and just happens to have some semblance of authority.

True Americans will not tolerate much more of the nonsense we have been subjected to so far in this new Administration. Let this be a heads up for them. Get a handle on the idiots who put their faces on television and spout off. They are speaking for you President Obama.

Ron Scarbro April 19, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Piracy on the open seas

Now let me see if I have this right. If pirates choose to take over ships in international waters, kidnapping crews, and holding the ships and their crews for ransom, and then the offended country retaliates by killing the pirates and recovering their ships and crews, the pirates and their host nations could get upset. Is that what I am supposed to get from the word coming out of Somalia today? I am further led to believe that the pirates could get so upset that they may get even bolder in the future. Is that supposed to frighten me?

First of all I just would like to congratulate the Navy and their sharpshooters for the amazing work done on Easter saving the Captain of the hijacked ship. I would like further offer to that Captain my personal appreciation for his courageous and selfless action in saving his crew by allowing himself to be taken hostage by the pirates. His actions represent the highest level of service and honor. The news has reported that three of the pirates were shot dead and one pirate was arrested and faces life in an American prison. Well done.

Today the news is full of worries that now, because of our actions, the piracy on the open seas will no doubt be ratcheted up with even more ships being taken and even more crewmen in danger. It would appear that certain individuals and countries think it is much better just to pay ridiculous ransoms and look the other way. After all these are poor people from poor countries. Their main source of income is from ransom money. I guess that is just supposed to be our penalty for being prosperous. Incidentally, the ship from this latest hijacking attempt was headed for Kenya with nothing on board but free aid and supplies to the starving people of Kenya. That doesn’t seem to matter to the detractors.

As you might imagine, I have a few thoughts on this subject. Most importantly the idea that any port that now harbors pirates and still exists is repulsive to me. People only respond to two emotions; fear and reward. The problem here is clear. They don’t fear retaliation for a simple reason. There hasn’t been any. In their criminal minds, they see this activity as a never ending cash cow. The time is long past when they need to learn the consequences of their actions and I don’t mean cashing big checks. They need to see what happens when the sleeping giant is awakened and decides to punish the offenders. When the survivors look out over the wasteland that used to be their country and see the devastation our strike would cause, I think they would see the error of their ways.

The western world does a tremendous disservice to the rest of the world by not showing clearly and completely what happens when they are offended. The pirates probably think “Hey this is a great gig. Just send a small rowboat out into International Waters and fire a few rounds of ammunition at some huge container ship and just like that, the money comes rolling in.” What do you suppose would be the reaction of would-be pirates if instead of money rolling in there was a barrage of cannon fire and their little boat was blown out of the water and the pirates suddenly became shark food?

You know, this world is really a lot simpler than most would believe. Laws, whether they are an individual country’s or whether they are international, are only as good as their enforcement. If we reward rather than punish, we send the wrong message. What else would the pirates think?

Unless we are willing to protect our ships on the open seas, we have absolutely no right to cry and complain when some moron decides to take them away from us.

Trust me, if the coast line of Somalia were reduced to a huge mud puddle, piracy would cease. If another country decided to take up the practice, it would only take one strike to convince them to get into another line of work.

Countries and their governments have the responsibility of insuring the safety of the high seas. This needs to happen today.

Ron Scarbro April 13, 2009

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Gun Control Revisited

Have you heard this one? “When you give up freedom in order to have security, you wind up with neither.” Nothing could be truer. We today revisit gun control.

There have been some recent killing sprees committed by nut cases. It happens now and then. It saddens me that such things occur. I do not believe however that any amount of gun control would have changed those events to any great degree. As is always the case, the villain is the killer, not the tool he chooses for the killing. Criminally insane murderers are just as dangerous whether armed with a gun, a knife, a bomb, an automobile, or a 2x4. The problem here is the killer, not the gun.

Of course the gun control advocates are (pardon the pun) up in arms over their perceived lack of any control over the presence of guns in our society. Here is some data which may be helpful to these advocates. There are as many guns in this country as there are people. No amount of attempted control by any governing agency is going to materially change this fact. When a nut case decides to go on a killing spree, no amount of gun control is going to stop him. The third fact that needs to be considered is that in most of the cases spree killings are usually stopped by a gun.

While the information above is important, the most important reason for gun ownership by citizens is for their protection. I am not just talking about protection from thugs and killers; I am also talking about protection from our own government. The second amendment was instituted by our founders for just that purpose. A brief review of history bears this out. The authors of the second amendment knew that governments traditionally grew in power until they had to take complete control. This is virtually impossible if the citizenry is armed. Our freedom as Americans is assured by the fact that we are armed and that no government can take us over; not even our own.

I know there are some who will read this who are afraid of any gun. They see guns as evil. Be assured the gun is not the problem. The gun is not the evil. In the hands of a mad man anything can be a weapon of mass destruction. The evil then is the nutcase who would kill. It matters not to the victim whether they are killed by gunfire or smacked with a sledge hammer.
Far more people are killed by automobiles than by guns in this country. Why don’t we outlaw cars? Should we outlaw chain saws?

We are fortunate to live in a free country, but random acts of violence happen. You could get struck by lightning just walking down the street. A meteorite could fall and strike you dead where you stand. Life has no guarantees. Life happens but it always ends.

In the hands of a sane law abiding person, a gun is as safe as a baby in the arms of its loving mother. To someone bent on killing and maiming, any weapon will do.

Here’s my revolutionary solution to gun violence or for any violence for that matter. Let’s control the killers and the nut jobs. Make sure that judges do what we pay them for. Many walking free in our cities today are convicted murderers who have been released from prison or never even sent. Most crime committed today is perpetrated by people previously convicted of crime. It’s possible for someone to rehabilitate himself, but that is a rare occurrence. It seems more likely they will re-offend. People make choices and we have laws to deal with those who make the wrong choices. The role of the society at large is to make sure the people we have hired to enforce our laws do their job.

There are among us those who are criminally insane. It is incumbent upon us to get them out of society. You wouldn’t allow a rabid dog to run free so why would you not require the same for a madman?

Blaming the gun is just another way some in society relieve themselves of the responsibility of law enforcement. It is a liberal cop out. Don’t fall for it. The following was true when it was originally published and it is true today. “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.”

From my cold dead hands,

Ron Scarbro April 8, 2009

Monday, April 6, 2009


The following was published in the Newsleader on April 5, 2008

Iran is going to have the bomb in one year, five years, or ten years depending on whom you believe. It doesn’t matter because North Korea already has it. We’re all going to die.

Mad cow disease or bird flu is going to ravage the world along with unstoppable bacteria. Strange new diseases will invade our lives for which we have no medication. We’re all going to die.

Yellowstone National Park is nothing more than a giant volcano which is going to blow up and decimate the entire eastern part of the U.S. All vegetation will be covered with miles of ash and rock. We’re all going to die.

The globe is warming at the fastest pace in known history. All the ice at both poles is going to melt and the entire country will be covered with water several fathoms deep. We’re all going to die.

We are running out of oil. The economy of the world is going to come to an end. We’re all going to die.

Are you scared yet?

How about this? Radical fundamentalist will take over Pakistan and have the bomb in their control. Since they all want the Earth to come to an end, we’re all going to die.

Now are you scared?

As I look back over my life, I am amazed with how much of it has been concerned with fear of catastrophic destruction and immediate death. From my earliest memories of safety drills in grammar school in the event of Soviet nuclear attack to polio. And yes, I have been scared.

Now that I am in the autumn of my life, I choose to reconsider those fears. Many years ago I was told that we spend much of our lives building bridges that we will never have to cross. How many such bridges have I built? How much of my life have I spent in fear of some unknown earth shattering event? Who has made it their business to make sure I am afraid? Is it possible that I am much more controllable if I am on edge and insecure? It’s just a thought.

Well I have made a decision. It has been a little late in coming but it has arrived none the less. I am going to borrow from a quote by Chief Joseph, Supreme Leader of the Nez Perce Indians. His quote, on the last day of his war on the white man,”I shall fight no more forever.” My thought is that I will fear no more forever.

Fear is such a wasted emotion. As I think back on all that I was supposed to fear, very little if any has come to pass. If you really think about it, we are all going to die. In fact, life is a terminal condition. Be cautious, be concerned, but don’t fear. One generation of humans is not going to destroy this planet that has survived for millions of years. To even consider it is arrogance beyond belief.

Whether you believe in a Supreme Being or not, I can assure you some force is in charge and will continue to take care of this earth long after humans have disappeared.

As we approach the spring and summer, stop and consider your life. It may seem cliché, but count your blessings. Celebrate the new life that will soon be all around us. Leave fear for those who refuse to love.

Ron Scarbro March 20. 2008