Windows on the World of Raymond Plank
Founder, Apache Corp
Vol. 2013 No. 1

Having waited for some time to comment on the November 6th, 2012 reelection of President Obama, it is now time that I do so, and I lead off with the verbatim comments of Ms. Laura Hollis, associate Professor of Law at Notre Dame, and obviously an able writer with whose comments I am generally like-minded.  I winced, however, at her lead-in to item five of her ten points, and so note.

In my long career, I have followed the political wars for a number of decades prior to Ms. Hollis’ reference to the point in time where her apt comments begin.  For reference F.D.R., who until his fourth term presidency, began the parade with his initial election to the presidency in 1932.  Herbert Hoover had gained great respect across the world as a result of his country providing food and medical relief to a struggling Europe hampered by reparations levied on the defeated Germans and Europeans at large.  As a result, the Hoover Dam was named in his honor. For political reasons, early on F.D.R’s political watch, the Hoover Dam was renamed the Boulder Dam, which continues.  

In early November 1944, I vividly recall rigging up the radio of our B-24 four-engine bomber in a night training mission which took us over the Hoover turned Boulder Dam to listen to the presidential election returns.  Later that month we were on our way to the hot war in the South Pacific.  I believe my memoir “A Small Difference” comments on same.

So here we are in late January 2013, with the president changing appointees who should not have held those positions in the first place, briefly kicking whatever segment of the middle class, which I call home, into the position of being disenfranchised, and that which appears to me to be also substantial disarray. 

While most of the conservatives with whom I speak have taken the position that economic and foreign relations well divided by 2015 to a point where the conservatives may return to office.  I’m neutral on that assessment, believing it better to work to stop the hemorrhaging midterm anyway. 

What might we be doing?  As I receive political party phone calls, what has now become junk mail to the point where in Wyoming, I had to buy a larger mailbox, and use caller I.D. to weed out calls for funds to enable much of the same to continue, it could be beneficial to set before Senate and House members a set of vitals both for practice and for real which could begin now and continue to help bring true reform to government.

I think maybe I’ll write a form letter to be sent elected officials with a few major items difficult to assail, for the reason they make sense beyond fragmenting the conservative party, presently deemed Republicans.  Please try the following on for size (most are not new):

1.     Request or demand term limits.

2.     Increase House terms from two to four years.  Limit terms in House and Senate to twelve years. 

3.     Stop appointing committee Congressional leadership on the basis of seniority and limit the terms (to eight years). 

4.     Outlaw all earmarks of legislation.

5.     Set limits on legal awards (death and injury).

6.     Provide for line item vetoes by the president.

7.     Shorten the campaign to six months and cap political expenditures per campaign.

8.     Give House and Senate enough time between proposed legislation and voting to read and comprehend bills introduced. 

9.     Require “up or down” votes on all proposed legislation.

10.   Call for balanced budget legislation to be effective not in a decade but within four years – without exception. 

11.  Reform the tax code and the more wordy attendant regulations. (I have   inquired of five experts the number of combined pages, and have yet to receive two like answers.)

12. Limit the number of lobbyists of all businesses, unions, law firms, and establish maximum political grants able to be granted based on size. 

Consider:      Get porn, explicit sex, and violent crimes of ill purveyors off television.

Catch all:       No more undeclared wars, no more troops stationed in foreign countries absent Congressional action, require government and non-government employees to drink of the same benefits well, English is our national language, no more multi language on public transportation or advertisements, no more voting in American elections unless those who vote pass nominal tests, no more flag burning, no more defacing of public buildings, no more presidential circumvention of the Constitution, no more attacks on the right to bear arms, no more lies with respect to the rate of inflation.  Have Congress debate how the U.S. reports inflation, or the indifferent are told it’s steady at two to three percent, but does not include groceries, gasoline, while I’ve heard that Congressional approval ratings are down to ten percent with all-inclusive inflation is close to fifteen to eighteen percent per annum.

My particular suggestions above, you may find useless.  Use, alter, omit, but recognize we need to become proactive.  I have every reason to be certain, if we all seek to make a very small difference, we can, while we honor those who died trying since the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution.