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MERRY CHRISTMAS

To Everyone,

 

2013 was a very good year for me.

The release of my book I, Walter in early April has produced a number of good reviews and critical approval.

Several people were even kind enough to leave reviews on Amazon.

Since then, I’m working on publicity for I, Walter, and also on Book Two in the series.

So much has happened.

And everyone in my circle is in good health.

 

THANK YOU ALL for following, and commenting, and being a part of my circle in 2013

 

May you all enjoy a Very Merry Christmas and A Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2014

 

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Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving.

 

it’s a day to give thanks.   So, here is a list of the things I wish to give thanks for:

 

1. My family is healthy, and (mostly) Happy.

2.  My book singings last week were major hits. 🙂

3. My editor  Rob, at theperfectwrite.com, who has a knack for doing the editing well, and giving constructive criticism

4.  Rachel Thompson (badredheadmedia.com, rachelintheoc.com) who is a Super Social Media Guru, and still has 3 Amazon #1 books out, and what looks to be another on the way.

5. Charity Langley, for an always honest and refreshing opinion.  Congrats on Reaching Amazon #1 with Wicked Intentions, Charity.

6.  All of my facebook and twitter friends (@MhartnerAuthor if your looking for me)

7.  Mikaela Loudon, a NEW teen author.  She gives me confidence in the next generation of fantastic writers.

8.  Brian Schwartz, Kindle expert extraordinaire, who helps to create covers and format text for me.

9. Every one of my audience, especially those nice enough to rate and review my book.

10. Blog tours, and the chance to get to know many more readers.

11.  EVERY member of the military and their spouses, who go out of their way to support this country.

I raise a glass of eggnog to all of you this year.   Thank you so very much for making my days and year exceptional beyond belief.

 

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On the Debt

The United States Government, for the moment, is shut down.  This is mostly due to the fact that no Continuing-Resolution can be passed.   The second fight currently on-going is over the debt limit.  And increasingly, people are getting vehemently opposed to the period of time that the government is closed, and blaming it on the opposition (in this case, the Republican party) .

I DON’T GET This.

Think about what’s going on.

1. There’s a fight over the debt ceiling.  The debt, according to Business Insider, is now 16.8 Trillion dollars plus, and threatening to break 17 by October 17, or more realistically by November 1.  16.8 Trillion Dollars.   That’s roughly 55,000 per person, covering every man, woman and child in this country.

(see this chart here;  http://www.skymachines.com/US-National-Debt-Per-Capita-Percent-of-GDP-and-by-Presidental-Term.htm )

What they are arguing on is randomly increasing the Debt.  There’s no conversation about lessening the debt.  There’s no conversation about how to control the debt.   It’s merely a conversation about increasing the debt.   People, the debt is YOU.  IT is YOUR responsibility to pay this money.  Government is an abstract.  You are the only pocket book.

So, Increase the debt to 18T, and within a year each and every one of you will owe $60,000 roughly.

This is the equivalent to you going into the bank and telling your loan officer that you are increasing your debt this year by another 7%, and the loan officer telling you “we have faith in you.”   NOT going to happen.  So, how come the government can do that?

And let’s think about this.  So we bump it to 18, and come back at this time next year and bump it to 19, and then to 20 and 21.   Where does it end?  In three years, the debt will be at 21 Trillion ( less time if ACA is implemented)  and each individual will owe roughly $70,000.

In roughly 20 years, (by my non-scientific estimates), we will lose nearly half of this population to aging.   And our debt will have increased to nearly 30 Trillion (or more).   But when the population decreases, and the debt increases, so does our portion of the debt.  You may think 70,000 is a small price to pay for the government, but what about $140,000 or $150,000 or more?

And what are we getting for that money ?   If it were strictly ACA and possibly Public Works like roads, and bridges and transportation, then that’s one thing.  Tangible benefits to help increase the economy, certainly.   But carefully look at the federal budget (if they ever manage to pass one).  Observe the considerable pork in each and every line, and ask yourself if all of these are worthy of the debt.

Now the good news on the debt (see business insider) is that only about 1/3 of it is owed to sources outside these United States.  In fact, over 1/3 is owed to various government institutions.   And another 1/3 is owed to various levels of government and pension funds of US citizens, both unionized and private.   So, really we owe this money to each other.   But shouldn’t we still be having a moment of SOBER thought about where the debt should be going.  We can’t live on a debt economy forever.  Things must change.

2.  The US government is now shutdown by it’s lack of interest in passing a federal budget.  Last year, when there was no federal budget agreed upon , the sequestor came into effect.   Those changes are still in effect, because there is no federal budget.  Continuing Resolutions (CR in govt term) are basically short-term budget.  We’ll pay this for the next 30days or 60 or 90.  THe uncertainty tends to ramp up the $ and makes planning difficult.

Look, I’m no advocate of shutting government down for long stretches.   But if that’s what it takes for sober thought, then go for it.

Can you really tell me that ‘give us what we want and then we’ll negotiate’ is SOBER thought? (Those were the President’s words last week)

Look at the money we are spending:  Entitlements, including Employment insurance, medicaire, social security, etc.. are a much larger portion of our budget.  And that will continue for many years to come.  And 80% of that money CONTINUES to go out the door, in spite of the government shutdown.

ACA MAY BE, may be, the be-all and end-all, and the greatest thing since sliced bread.  I doubt it, since I live outside the country and I’ve seen where this is heading.   It’s a start, and a reasonable one, provided everyone is involved.  And right now, that’s not the case.

But it’s only a tool in the government’s arsenal.  And right now, it’s a focus point.  And one that, it seems to me, is being used to get Americans to give SOBER thought to their government’s budget, their government’s debt, and the direction we’re heading.

So, what’s the answer?  You tell me.   In my opinion, the answer is rational and sober thought, and less vitriol between politicians.  And would be even easier if the American people were understanding what was occuring, rather than the spin.

Love to hear you comments

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On HealthCare

HealthCare is a topic that could take me several posts and several hours of writing.  It may still take me several posts, but I promise to try and condense my comments so that it doesn’t take several hours.

DISCLAIMER:  I live in Canada, which already has a health-care system, and I have been a beneficiary of it.  I grew up in both countries (US and Canada) and had epilepsy.  It wasn’t until I was in my 20s and married (in Canada) that I had the opportunity to have an operation, by one of the top three Neurosurgeons of the day, to remove the brain tissue that was the focal point of the epilepsy.  I’m presently seizure free for more than a decade, and NOT in greatdebt because the operation was and still is part of socialized medicine in Canada.

I also have family that live in the United States.  They are seniors,  living under the poverty line, have had multiple problems with heart, liver, kidney, hernia, etc… and a number of operations.  But, Medicare is paying for the large majority of that.  And outside of medications and their high expense, he has received quite a bit of -ESSENTIAL- treatment, without a terrible financial cost to the family.

So, now that you know my disclaimer, here are my thoughts on Health Care.

First, a bit of history.   Canada brought in its medical program under Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson ( that would have been late 60s if memory serves me).  At the time, the number of tretable diseases was minimal and the number of medications that were on the market was also minimal.  So the system was set up so that Government revenues would pay Doctors and Hospitals to set up a system that would treat patients.  The money followed the Providers.

Today, there are hundreds, even thousands of diseases.  And their treatments have many times more medications.  So, already you can see that costs are goingto skyrocket to cover all of these expenses.  And you can also, I hope, see a point in this where you need to start rationalizing whether to use this med or that service, to reduce, or at least check the costs.

In Canada, HealthCare was a FEDERAL mandate, and each of the provinces (state equivalent) were given monetary transfers to let them decide how and where to spend the money based on the needs of their own province.   So, there is FIRST a federal program and its administration.  And then a provincial program and its adminstration.  And regional programs and their adminstration  — cause cities have differing needs than rural communties.

So, in my opinion, a lot of money is WASTED on bureaucrats.

Also, what used to be less than ten percent of the costs of the federal budget, is now more than thirty percent of the federal budget.  And because of federal off-loading (i.e. making the provinces pay for programs the feds announce) health care is now very close to HALF of every provincial budget.   And it is expected to get worse as the population ages even more.  Since, as we all know, your need for medicare increases as your age.

The Affordable Care act is, in my opinion, step one in this process.  It is Health insurance, mandated by the US Feds, with a cost for opting out.   And for older people, or those with pre-existing conditions, it’s a great program, and they’ll probably sign up quickly.  But:  1) You’ve already seen businesses getting rid of their programs so that the feds can take care of the program, and that, I believe, will increase; and 2) there is word on the street that the younger generation of new adults ( the 18 -40s) will NOT sign up for this program.  They don’t feel they need healthcare and they are not interested in the expense.   So, what you end up with is the people signing up with the program are largely those who will benefit short term.  Meaning the costs are already being borne.  While those that have no need for the program won’t sign, and therefore won’t help to pay for this program.   In short, it’s becoming an entitlement, much like SocSecurity.

When it was set up in the 30s, SocSecurity had one recipient for every 30 people paying in.  Now, the program has six recipents for every person paying in.  The system is starting to go bankrupt.

This too, will happen to Affordable Care.   And it will happpen quicker because affordable care CAN NOT control expenses.   The Doctors are still independent.  The Hospitals are still independent.  And the government has never been able to enforce spending limits.

Not too long from now, maybe three to five years, you’ll hear about how this program isn’t working properly.  And then you’ll be asked to approve another program which will be the nationalizing of Doctors, and Hospitals.  And this will add even more to the National Debt.   And the question is:  Will it give us any better care than we get now?

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On Government

The Government is elected … to govern …   And while I don’t agree with everything that they do, the people are getting what they asked for.

This year, we have a majority of Democrats in the Senate, anda Majority of Republicans, including Tea Party members, in the House.

And between them, they can’t govern to save their lives.

The original point of one party being in the Minority was to hold the Majority’s feet to the fire and give them proper pause to THINK before they acted.  Some really stupid acts have been done over the past 100 years by parties in government that had no accountability.   I believe that the government of today is dealing with SEVERAL issues that need to be discusses rationally with the electorate.  In my opinion, these issues are:  Immigration, Debt ceiling, Entitlements, Medical Care, and Taxation.

A few disclaimers here:  1)  I am not, never have been, and never will be (Thank God) an elected member of ANY party.  2) I was raised in a family that was a)very patriotic, b) very ‘laissez faire’  — i.e. get the government out of my life and my pocket book, and c) very skeptical about anything that sounded too good to be true, because it usually is.

In today’s world, we are approaching a period in which a number of these issues are coming to the fore.  All of it is fodder for a GOOD discussion among members of society.   And there are nearly as many opinions as people.  But, in my opinion,  there needs to be a lot more FACT and a lot less rhetoric.   And maybe a little bit of background information.

 

Presently, I and my family live outside these United States.  That does not make me any LESS of an American.  But, it does allow me a bit less politicla and more rounded opinion.  And I hope some of you will add your two cents as comments afterwards.

So join me, please, as I go through these topics,  and show my own opinions.  Good, bad or indifferent, I’d love to hear your comments.

 

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Friendly Neighborhood book store

YAY !!

Right now, I’m so excited, I’m afraid I’m going to burst.

I’ve got a smile so wide, it would rival the Mississippi river

 

You see, last Tuesday I was given confirmation.  And yesterday, I got the physical evidence.

My book, I, Walter  now has an American distributor, and said distributor is vendor-of-record for the largest bookstore in the world.

And it appears that I, Walter  will spend the Christmas Season stocked, physically, in the largest bookstore in the world.

 

And, right now, I have the biggest smile in the world.

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On Phobias and -isms

If you want me to like you, don’t make love to your colon from the inside.

I’m a middle-aged white heterosexual male, married to a woman of color for nearly twenty-five years, with a son.

My grandfather always said, “I never met a man I couldn’t like.”  But he also said, “I will like a person until they give me a good reason not to.”

 

I agree.

 

Sexual preference:  I’m hetero.  Some of my better friends aren’t.

My wife is one of color.  I have friends of all colors, all races, shapes, sizes, and orientations.

 

What do I dislike?

 

i dislike people who try to kiss their colon from the inside, and then tell me I’m racist when I don’t like it.

What you do behind closed doors is not my business, or the governments.   I don’t care what happens in any bedroom, except my one, UNLESS it physically harms someone in my own family or circle of friends.

But, if you want to be accepted for being you, then act it.

I don’t go around waving flags saying “I’m white, heterosexual and a father!”  It’s nobody’s business.  I go outside and do the best I can for my family.  And, for the most part, am accepted for who I am, largely based on the way I conduct myself.

So, if you wish to be accepted as normal, then act it.

If you wish to be accepted as different, then continue to wave your flag, dance your dance, and dress however you think is ostentatious.  But, if I don’t like it, or think it’s in poor taste, then don’t tell me I’m phobic.  I’m not.

Similar comment with color.   I have friends from nearly every continent on this earth (obvious exception of Antarctica since nobody lives there).   But, if you wish to stick your head up your… and commence to loving the inside of your colon, I’m not going to like you.   It’s not because of your skin color, it’s because you’re acting like it’s very hard to breathe, and you’re desperate.

I have friends from nearly every social status.  And maybe, just maybe, it’s because I try to treat everyone as I would want them to treat me.

One comment, on women’s lib:

Three generations of my family have DEPENDED on the women in their lives.  Many of them have chosen to be stay-at-home mothers.  Others have decided to work from home, or to outright work.  THEY ALL have my respect.  And it is THEIR decision whether to work or not, to stay home or not.  Frankly, the women are the more powerful part of my family.  And they’ve earned that by proving the decisions that they’ve made have been in the best interests of the family.

I was raised in a time when it was polite, and necessary, to act as a gentlemen.  Today, nearly fifty years later, I will still open doors, out of habit, respect, and doing the gentlemanly thing.   I have seen a few women take offence.   You have my apologies.  One day, i hope you recognize that nothing offensive was meant by it.  I was just taught to show ladies of all shapes and sizes the respect due to them as ladies.

I am not in a position to ensure that every woman gets equal pay be her employer for equal work, since I’m not the employer.  But you can be certain that if I was in a position to do that, I would.

On Capitalism:

Capitalism, in today’s world, is more corporatism than capitalism.

Henry Ford, when he was alive believed that it was part of capitalism to treat the people who worked for you properly.  After all, if you didn’t, then they couldn’t buy the goods you were producing.  And then where would you be?

If you take a careful look at many of the wars or conflicts in the 20th century, and even in the last fifteen years, you’ll find corporatism is behind nearly all of them.

You’ll also find that as the gap widens between rich and poor, so to does the violence and crime.  If you want to attack the root of all the crime problems, then pay workers’ decently, so that they can afford to live and spend money on the economy.  But, for that to happen, we each have to take responsibility for each other.

Understand, I’m not advocating helping the lazy slob who refuses to work, because the dosh he receives from the government will pay his way.  I’m saying that helping your own staff, and workers; helping those people who truly need it, including the working poor, and the veterans who can’t make ends meet, and the truly disabled; are the things that we are all here to do.   Because if we can’t help each other, then why, really, are we here?

 

 

 

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