An Interview with Beverly Eakman: AGENDA GAMES—INTERVIEW I

Oct 3, 2012 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

1)          Beverly, your latest book, Agenda Games has come out, just prior to the next election, which gives us all time to ponder and think about the last four years.  Could you give YOUR summary of the last four years? Your thoughts as to what has transpired?

The last four years have seen a culmination of the leftist agenda.  The Left believes that nothing can stop socialism now; that its plethora of “do-good” foundations, associations, institutes, centers-for-this-and-that are now entrenched, and that agencies linked to the United Nations have become so interconnected and ubiquitous that America can no longer extricate itself from their grasp.  The Left has succeeded in marginalizing anyone who runs afoul of political correctness, and in punishing any group that defies the diktats of what has become the closes thing to apparatchiks America has ever seen (most noticeable in agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)).

These punishments take the form of grueling harassment, bankrupting fines, draconian regulations and career-ending marginalization at the behest of administration toadies (local extensions of federal agencies) and a predominating lapdog media.  Just electing some new faces in congress and at the executive level is no longer, by itself, going to “turn things around.”

For example, Mitt Romney will have to support “Smart Growth” no matter what he really thinks about “sustainable development,” the U.N., or “green” issues.   And thanks to an ongoing, left-leaning education system, the newest crop of voting adults has now, for the most part, split from the nation’s founding ideals, especially values such as self-reliance, self-determination, and rugged individualism—already characterized as “antisocial” and “cognitively rigid.”

I believe that Chief Justice John Roberts was actually trying to send the American people a message–explain the state of the union, as it were—when he added what some people still consider to be a “senseless” note or “excuse” to the High Court’s ObamaCare decision:  “It’s not our [the Court’s] job to protect people from the consequences of their electoral choices”?  He was right.  It’s not.

2)          I don’t know about you, but the cost of my medication has increased by 50 percent. Has ObamaCare been nothing but a big game?

The cost of medication is related to the cost of research-and-development and insurance companies.  The U.S. Government—at least not at this juncture—is not particularly interested in R&D, and drug companies are not motivated to seek out the private investment it needs for what they view as “niche drugs” that address a specific illness.  What many have been motivated to do is invent mind-altering drugs, and sexual-enhancement drugs, which are viewed as big-money-makers: depression, Attention-deficit-hyperactivity “disorders” and erectile dysfunction. That is mostly what you see advertised on TV and in magazines.

People (especially women) are easily convinced they are “clinically depressed” or that their children are “abnormally inattentive.”  As men age, they expect and want the same vigor as a 20-year-old.  Meanwhile, real diseases and painful conditions are not given the same level of attention.  Many people, for example, have found that the old antibiotics are not affecting the new strains of the same diseases.

The focus of ObamaCare is much larger than drug costs, but like the Bush-era “drug benefit” for seniors, it serves as an enticement for “government” to involve itself in individual health decisions.  Miss that point, and you miss the point of socialized medicine.  Yes, some drugs are more expensive, and some drugs, especially those which have gone “generic,” are less.  But when your insurance tells you it won’t cover this or that medication, or dictates how much of it you “need” and when you can obtain it, you AND your doctor are no longer in charge of your health.

3)      You have a chapter on “The Health Care Game,” and one’s health is really nothing to be playing games about. What do you have to say about the very long, very dastardly health care game that has been going on?

That is a very involved question, and it takes a bit of context to understand it, which is why that particular chapter is long.  I wanted to be sure everyone “got” it.  Basically, Americans began losing control when the insurance racket came in.  Individuals who worked for certain employers—esp. government-affiliated workplaces and some larger corporations—offered their employees insurance, and at first that worked out rather nicely as a “perk.”  But once high-tech machines (especially sophisticated X-ray equipment, robotics (for surgery) and lasers) came on the scene investors in insurance companies expected a higher return, just as patients expected more vigorous attention to their physical complaints and illnesses.  Everyone was encouraged to be screened for certain conditions—and they did.  That was fine up to a point—the point being that health care became more a “business” than a “calling.”  The result was de-personalization, which government could then exploit to the fullest extent.  And it has.

So, if ObamaCare determines that a certain form of orthopedic surgery is solely on an out-patient basis, you can just sit in your own waste in a bathroom at your house for days and nights on end, and nobody will notice or care unless you have family.  But even your family will not be able to “run interference” for you, thanks to the completely phony privacy law (HIPPA), which essentially cuts families out of the decision-making process.

4)      I rarely criticize politicians, but Nancy Pelosi’s comment that “we have to pass it to know what is in it” (or words to that effect), is, well, pretty dopey.  Is this the kind of leadership we want in the Senate?

The comment she made is indicative of what has been going on for a long time—unfortunately.  This isn’t the first time laws have been passed largely unread by legislators, both at the federal and the state level (an example of the latter is a bill related to mental health screening of schoolchildren in Illinois). That most laws today are written, not by our elected representatives, but rather are drafted by lawyers and lobbyists, is one problem. Pressure to get a piece of legislation passed before the public gets wind of it, is another.

One of our Constitution’s Framers, James Madison, anticipated this very situation when he wrote in Federalist Paper #62:  “It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.”

At about 2,000 pages, the legislative monstrosity was 360 percent longer than the epic novel, War and Peace, and 2½ times as long as the Bible.  Many members of Congress admitted they had never read the text of ObamaCare before they passed it.  Even with that, ObamaCare had only cleared the House by only seven votes, even though Democrats held a majority. In the Senate, the measure barely avoided a filibuster.

So, while Nancy Pelosi’s comment was meant to be a quip, the reason the House was laughing was because they essentially agreed and knew from experience that they would rely on their staffers to look over pieces of it—which is to say, unelected nobodies who are the sons and daughters of big donors are sitting in offices reviewing important documents they know for which they have no credentials.  Under such a system, we have lost control of our government.

5)      Now, there is this thing called a budget, and apparently the U.S. is in debt. How long can the U.S. keep playing games with people’s money, and our future generations?

Essentially, it can’t.  The troubling trend began in 1999.  There was also no federal budget in fiscal years 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2007—and now for three years straight. This, and Mr. Obama’s spending spree, spurred a “Budget Crisis,” and now the “financial cliff” we’re headed for is all the talk.  Whether it can really be brought back under control at this point is a huge question.  So-called “austerity measures” have been scuttled and protested in country after country—that is the power of socialism.  The Left is betting on it here.

Only one man dared to roll up his sleeves in 2012 and declare “Enough!”:  House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI.). He was the only man in Congress still uttering the “s” words on the House floor—“supply-side.” His pitch to balance the budget shocked even his own party—enough so that some Republicans actually criticized him at the time, either for not cutting enough, such as unloading an agency or two, or for proposing massive changes to “untouchable” entitlements like Social Security and Medicare, meaning a cap on federal spending and lower tax rates across-the-board.  Always happy to shoot themselves in the foot in the name of “compromise,” these Republicans joined Democrats by asking where Ryan’s economic principles lay—with Jesus, or Ayn Rand!  (The American Civil Liberties Union wisely stayed mum.)

It would be helpful in discussing the national budget and debt, if all Americans had at least a passing familiarity with the terms and realities associated with basic economics, as well as some knowledge of the rules and regulations the President and Congress are expected to follow in hammering out the nation’s budget each fiscal year.

Unfortunately, our nation’s public schools, and even many private ones, do not teach the most elementary terminologies that govern financial matters, much less transmit economic legislative history. As for college graduates, unless they majored in economics or business, they have only the haziest grasp of fiscal realities.

Consequently, increasing numbers of Americans today believe self-sufficiency is unattainable (if not downright mean-spirited) and have replaced it—subconsciously, at least—with ethics like “interdependency” and “free-market socialism.” The latter is an oddball combination of extreme regulation, high taxes, large entitlement expenditures—but with a robust stock-market!

To thrive in a market-based, free-enterprise society such as ours, every high school graduate should have at least a passing understanding of terminologies such as: annuity, appropriation, capital asset, commodity, Consumer Price Index, deficit, default, fiscal year, Gross National Product, Gross Domestic Product, inflation, mandatory versus discretionary spending, prime rate, purchasing power, recession, and thrift industry.

At minimum, all college graduates, whatever their major, should be familiar with the terms budget authority, balance of payments, bracket creep, Bretton Woods System, capital gains, capital stock, central versus commercial bank, Continuing Resolution, deficit (the six types), derivatives, debentures, dollar value (including weak dollar and dollar collapse), intangible asset, price earnings ratios, stagflation, and trust.

Unfortunately, most young adults are doing well to balance their checkbook, as these topics are not deemed a priority either in high schools or undergraduate college programs. Without a common base of economic knowledge, it is nearly impossible to comprehend the dangerous game our nation’s leaders are playing in busting the federal budget and turning what should be a national strength into an Achilles heel.

When it comes to how our nation’s economy is supposed to work, the most frequent response, especially among younger adults is something along the lines that “America is based on free enterprise which means you can buy and sell what you want.  Such a statement is all well and good, but it does not explain why the fiscal year is different than a calendar year; it does not clarify why government cannot “create” jobs or wealth; it does not elaborate on anything related to a “trade deficit. The freedom to “buy and sell what you want” fails to distinguish between a budget resolution and a continuing resolution—the latter having become, since 1974, the largest part of the “game” known as the Federal Budget.  While most people know what an “asset” is, per se, when they hear the term “net asset value,” their eyes glaze over. And we haven’t even gotten to “capitalism” versus “capitalization” yet.

6)      Some would say the answer to the budget crisis is simple—just raise taxes and raise them on the very, very rich. Easy game change?  

The problem is that the “very, very rich,” as you call them, create the jobs.  Once society is no longer mobile, you will no longer have a college-age Steve Jobs creating what would become Apple in his spare time, or a group of college kids creating Yahoo in their garage, or a clothier designer coming home from a day job and creating a whole new look that would revolutionize the industry in her bedroom.  All the incentive to do that would be regulated away, first, then taxed away.  The Founders were very aware of the only way someone with genius could rise in there Old World—to have a patron.  Is this what we want here?

The Left has bamboozled too many people into thinking free-market economics is to blame for their lack. Some leftists even argue that people shouldn’t have to learn any rules of finance; that income should be guaranteed. This condescending argument implies that only “super-high-IQ” people can master the basics.  Poor education concerning economic matters produces such misguided reactions as the “Occupy” movement. Simply shouting slogans condemning Wall Street, denouncing the world’s banking industry and carrying signs decrying “corporate welfare” are of value only to professional opportunists who thrive on dissention, chaos, rebellion and conflict.

Moreover, when lawmakers make war on small-scale entrepreneurs (via regulations) and punish “the wealthy” (via taxes), they essentially succeed in shooting the middle and lower classes in the foot.

7)      The past four years, have seen widespread unemployment and an increase in food stamps, so much so that the current president is being called “The Food Stamp President .“ Is this the “regime change“ that we all voted for?

European-style socialism has had advocates on both sides of the political aisle for a long time. Ambassador Gerald P. Carmen, a former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party during the Reagan years, pointed out in a January 30, 2012, piece for The Washington Times: “The cocktail party set [as far back as the Reagan Administration] thought capitalism was the past and socialism the future….”   Unfortunately, many of these same super-wealthy look at leadership in the U.S. as a horse-race.  They “give” massive amounts to their favorite—thru PACs, super-PACs, other third parties, and individually.  But they don’t care who wins—really!  Sometimes they pay into both candidates, both at the national and state levels.  Since the popular vote must give way to the electoral college anyway, these “donors” think they can compete against each other!  They look upon political campaigns as you would a game of football—until it comes to something they want and expect.  So, back to your question of the “regime change we all voted for.”  We might as well not have bothered.

8)       I lived through 9/11 and worried about people I knew in New York City. Others in New York City were not so lucky. Are we any safer, are we any better, or what is the status of the “National Security Game”? (I type this reflecting on Libya right now.)

Not one whit.  We are, in fact, physically surrounded by terrorist-sponsoring nations, loose borders and a TSA that harasses food citizens instead of catching terrorists.  They leave that to the passengers!  ABC World News with Diane Sawyer scooped the media on April 24, 2012, with Jim Avila’s interview of Kip Hawley, the head of the TSA between 2005-2009.  Hawley is about as close to the horse’s mouth as it comes.  He stated bluntly that, in ABC’s words, “most of those lines that we dread are a waste of time.”

Jim Avila said: “The man who helped build the TSA…says the system is broken and TSA should stop looking for weapons that cannot penetrate the post-9/11 fortified cockpit door.” Avila added that, according to Hawley, “the TSA is sitting on important technology that screens liquids for explosives and could, as soon as tomorrow, allow passengers to carry everything from water to shampoo, through security and onboard.”

While few passengers are fooled by this game of “let’s pretend,” the airports are more packed than ever—but not necessarily by those who remember how nice it used to be pre-1983.  Many among that demographic have decided to buy a home in the mountains, or a place where they can drive to the beach instead of travel the world in their retirement years.

Worse, we do not appear to have a foreign policy that designates exactly what constitutes an Act of War.  I carefully noted that in Chapter 4, pp. 184-185 and explained—as if I should have to—what a foreign policy should look like, including an Act of War that would more narrowly define our true interests in foreign countries.

9)      Now where can people get a copy of this book to read before the election?

Among other places, Agenda Games can be obtained by going directly to either Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Agenda-Games-Todays-High-Stakes-Political/dp/0615675433/ref=sr_1_14?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1347630697&sr=1-14&keywords=agenda+games) OR to Midnight Whistler Publishers (http://midnightwhistler.com/).

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