Monday, May 27, 2013

The Rule Of Law

No Government member shall be above those laws they create for the people whose care has been entrusted to them.

There comes once in a while a bright moment in life when one looks for the umpteenth time at familiar words, and finally sees the meaning they have… a meaning often hidden in plain sight, as it were.

The rule of law has been bandied about for several centuries now. Perhaps as far back as the times of the Roman Empire. Yet, one of our own, John Adams, also talked about it and what he said, can be summarized in 4 basic points:

  • Everyone must follow the law;
  • Leaders must obey the law;
  • Government must obey the law;
  • No one is above the law.

What he also said was that we must have a “government of laws and not of men”.

Perhaps it takes one who has lived under what is considered to be a government of men and not of laws, to understand the meaning of this small, yet powerful sentence. When someone in government assumes that his/her position allows the deliberate ignorance of the law, they should be put out to pasture; they are no longer fit to care for the people who trusted them. No one is above the law; no one has the right to enjoy legal privileges that I, as a private and common citizen may not be able to enjoy.

I do not refer to those privileges afforded to them who have more available spending money than I have. Those are of a different ilk and, in most cases, are an earned right. I refer to privileges which allow someone to have, for example, fiscal advantages I do not have; like a fully funded pension plan which is outside the tax laws… I don’t have that luxury.

Even in the relative meagerness of a forced social security plan, which gives me less than a fifth in earnings than what a private pension plan might have given me with the same investment, I am forced to pay taxes because I have to continue to work to supplement it. And this is after 45 years of contributions from my earnings. We have lawmakers who after one or two sessions in the House or one session in the Senate retire with a life pension, tax free. That is not fair.

And now we have the (In)famous “Obamacare” bill. Do we need a revamping of the health regulations? We sure do. However, do we need a revamping which in the not so long run may prove to be fiscally fatal to the system? We sure don’t. And if “We, The People” have to go under this care, then so must those who created it. One of the most interesting parts of this bill is that, on signing it, the House members also passed a resolution exempting themselves and the administrative branch (read: President) from this supposedly fantastic care package.

Even before the bill has gone into effect, Medicare is already feeling the brunt of fiscal (mis)management. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find doctors who willingly will take on new Medicare patients unless these are willing to increase the amount of co-pay or have insurance that does so. Why? Procedural payments are being quietly reduced and stretched out. It may now take as long as three months for an office to get paid for a service. After all… a doctor’s office is a business with the attending costs which have to be met regularly.

The Rule of Law… maybe it should be required reading as part of every opening session in Congress, and placed on a central wall, for all to see.

Especially that part that reads: “No one is above the law”

Be Well … Be Back!!!

Final Notes:
  • Pray for those who are fighting an illness which may take them away from their loved ones… Every request is heard, and counts!!
  • Follow us on Twitter … @RJAsPandora
  • Any comments please send to
  • “La Otra Caja de Pandora”… The Spanish language Blog… “”Bienvenidos!!!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Cheito’s Concern.

Whenever my friend Cheíto calls me unexpectedly, I know something is really bothering him… in his own basic way of thinking he actually has some very keen insights.

-“RAFA!!!!” “Juat’sup Man?” “We ain’t talk in a lon’ tain”
-“Cheíto, Bro… what’s goin‘on?”
-“I’n worryd man” “too many thins happenin’ and none too good

I’ve had my own worries during these past days. All I hear from the direction of our capital and neighboring alleys has not been good. Yes, we all know there isn’t a single government which has been free of sin, but these specific sins are worrisome. They indicate a mind set which wants to control and negate, at all costs, any kind of dissent to said control.

-“juat’s goin’on man?”  “souns like our presiden’ has ben takin’ gvmint lessons from Cuba”…
-“Whoa Cheíto…. What do you mean?”
-“he’s lyin’, he’s havin people look’t at, he’s usin’ the tax people to push other people aroun’…”

I have to say that Cheíto, once again, was getting to the core of the issue… not much running around for him. In essence, his concerns are pretty much the same concerns I have had for a while. All reports from people inside the government circles, especially those who profess to have access to the resident, indicate he is a man who does not like to be contradicted, or who looks for advice from folk who may not represent the mainstream of American thinking.

Every executive is free to look for advice from any quarter; it is just that this particular office represents ALL people, not just those who come from specific quarters.

-“Jus’ juat happen’ in binguzi?” “ju noe… that plas over the other side of the worl’ where some peple were kilt?”… “Why did nobody help?”
-“Well… looks like there were some mixups in the communication and some troops that were ready were not allowed to go help them over at the embassy”
-“Who’the boss o’that?”
-“Well… looks like Hillary took the blame for a while…”
-“bu’ the President is the bossman, righ’?”

After a minute of silence… he asked…

-“What ‘bout the tax thin’?”... “ju noe… where people were pushed ‘round and lookid at?” 
-“Well… looks like the acting director has been fired… although he was supposed to leave soon anyway…”
-“Whu pu’im there?”
-“The President”
-“Aha” … “What’bout the udder thin with those guys in the papers?”…”where they were getting’ private informashun dey were not suppos’ to get?”
-“Somebody else in the State Department is taking the blame for this… they are the people in charge of this”
-“Who dey repor’ to?”…
-“The President”
-“But…” he continued… “the President says he don’ noe nuthin’ … that these peeple di’ all this on der’own, right?”
-“Well… looks like he’s implying some people acted on their own despite their having to report to him, that he didn’t know these things were being done” 
-“Dam… he sees nuthin’… he noes nuthin’… he does nuthin’… then, my fren’… What the hell is he doin’ there?”

As I said… in his simple way… Cheíto is not so simple… and neither should be the rest of us.

Be Well … Be Back!!!

Final Notes:
  • Pray for those who are fighting an illness which may take them away from their loved ones… Every request is heard, and counts!!
  • Follow us on Twitter … @RJAsPandora
  • Any comments please send to
  • “La Otra Caja de Pandora”… The Spanish language Blog… “”Bienvenidos!!!

Sunday, May 12, 2013


A feeling that sometimes blinds us and leads us into dark physical as well as emotional alleys from which there may be no return…

In the many years I have been a “communicator” there has always been a basic rule which I was taught at the very beginning by those who trained me, and which I have tried to follow… not always successfully: Don’t speak blindly in anger for those words which are spewed at a moment of ire, can never be taken back and may destroy more than what they may build.

Tonight is different; there are far too many instances that are totally incongruent between what we profess to live and what we, as a nation, choose to actually live.

As I watch a show in which different regular Joes and Josephines are being awarded for actions of heroic measurements, there is one in particular which has brought this feeling forward.

We, as a nation, have sent our young men and women off to wars, at one time or another, in just about all corners of the world. While they are there, we call them and hail them as heroes. But… what happens when they come back?  What happens when they come to families which have suffered in their absence? To jobs which are no longer there, or which may be lost because they suffer from a lingering disease, be it physical or emotional, as a result of those months spent in combat, in fear of losing their lives at any time? What happens when they lose their homes for not being any longer able to pay the mortgage?

One of those being honored tonight is a Hispanic veteran. An Iraq vet, to be exact. Why is he considered a hero? Because after he came back, he realized there were far too many (as he says: “one is one too many”) veterans who had come back and had found themselves in one or more of the situations described in the above paragraph and were living as destitute homeless under bridges and in desert shacks.

When he tried to find them help and came up against the useless bureaucracy which was supposed to be a help to these people who had become the forgotten “heroes”, he founded “Vet Hunters”. This is a non profit organization whose only purpose is to “hunt” for those veterans wherever they may be and help them to, somehow, rejoin society as productive members, once again. His group has managed to help upwards of one hundred abandoned returning veterans. For this, he was rewarded as a hero, as well this army veteran should be.

So, why my anger?  Very simply, because we should never need to have a hero of this type. The least we as a nation can do is to insure these folk have priority access to all those services, gifts, moneys and help many who have never served or even worked, receive on a regular basis. That is a source of anger for me, as a veteran. I do not say take away from those who truly need to receive, but I do say that those who have put their all on the line so these others would have the right to demand and receive, should be considered for the very same help.

Without having to have an individual hero who understands this, and who is willing to continue to put himself at risk in order to help those very men and women who gave up all on our behalf.

As a nation, we spend billions … hell, trillions... of dollars in many areas, in countries which don’t really even like us but just take our money and in untold projects… many which could be called questionable at best. Yet, we can’t seem to find those funds, small in comparison, to help people who have earned the right to that assistance by serving our nation. Yes, I also include those who were accepted into service being undocumented and, upon returning home, often find themselves with nothing and with no help because… you guessed it… they have no documents.          

Am I angry? You bet I am. Not only as a citizen but also as a veteran who went into the US Army  in the 1960’s as undocumented, and received a presidential pardon which allowed me to become a productive citizen for the better part of 40 years.

These returning heroes deserve better and we have to see that they get their just dues.

Be Well … Be Back!!!

Final Notes:
  • Pray for those who are fighting an illness which may take them away from their loved ones… Every request is heard, and counts!!
  • Follow us on Twitter … @RJAsPandora
  • Any comments please send to
  • “La Otra Caja de Pandora”… The Spanish language Blog… “”Bienvenidos!!!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Is It Her… or is it Memorex ™ ??

Remember those ads in which a lady was singing until a wine glass would be broken by the sound waves… and then the above question would be asked? Of course… we knew the answer to that one!!! (by the way… if you do remember… you are giving away your TV age…)

Sometimes evidence and circumstances tell us very clearly “who done it” and what’s what. But it isn’t always so clearly established and defined. In fact, circumstances and soft evidence can be managed to make it appear other than what is, or was. Especially, was.

There are junctions in life when decisions are made. When these do come about, usually they are due to expediency as well as the reality and need of the moment. Yet, the decision maker I believe tries to take a road which is favorable and will bring about a desired outcome. All within the realm of the moment’s possibilities as well as of the capacity of the person to make and carry out such a defined course of action.

Here we go again!! The best laid plans and all that!! The above two forlorn and almost forgotten paragraphs have been sitting, waiting for some sort of published redemption for almost three weeks now… to the point where whatever it was I was headed with this piece … well… just got lost in the mists of my mind. Quiet!!! … Don’t even think it!!!

So now, I have to re-read it, hoping to get an idea of the direction I thought I had back then, while encasing my head in earphones blasting away with a jazz/blues concert with Winston Marsalis and Eric Clapton, among other great ones…

And again, time has gone on… and nothing happens with this piece of … well, writing. So we sit again and try to restart a somewhat worn out engine in order to get a handful of thoughts organized and put into a fit pattern for publishing, a mishmash of ideas disguised as a blog entry.

In the meantime, I watch with much despair and sorrow the “cubanizing” of Venezuela, down to the thugs who are let loose on those who dare speak up against the tyranny. This is a government which is in place through total and absolute fraud and wants to remian in place through intimidation and violence. 

Their mouthpieces insist that it is the other side which is organizing the violence, while it is obvious to anyone watching events unfold that “the other side” has adopted a Gandhi like stance… turn the other cheek and rebel quietly and peacefully. The thugs don’t really know how to deal with this, so accustomed to violence are they.

I am not a seer or a predictor. Those quasi-mystical qualities are themselves often the object of ridicule and fraud, fame which has been bestowed upon them by the charlatans who profess to have them for profit… Yet, all of them say that this government will not last out the current year, that inside fighting is already sealing its fate… we will see… said the blind man…

The mind stays young but the body every so often reminds us that years have passed since it may have been considered to be in “prime time”. The latest reminder is a hurting left hip. I guess it realized its partner, the right one, had been the recipient of a surgical “face-lift” by way of a titanium implant… So it seems that it became jealous and is letting me know of this fancy. Painfully. Back to the MRI and the possibility of an additional implant. Not a complaint, mind you. That metal baby on the right side is totally painless and, hopefully, if the other one follows the same road, it will also behave as well as its sister once it is touched up.

Well, enough for now… promise I will be back with a more coherent entry very soon. In fact… I know I will be talking to my friend Cheito soon, he actually sent me an email!! ... Coming of age into cyberspace… God have mercy on us!!!

C U Soon

Be Well … Be Back!!!

Final Notes:
  • Pray for those who are fighting an illness which may take them away from their loved ones… Every request is heard, and counts!!
  • Follow us on Twitter … @RJAsPandora
  • Any comments please send to
  • “La Otra Caja de Pandora”… The Spanish language Blog… “”Bienvenidos!!!

Doña América and other memories.

I know she has already been mentioned somewhen along this line of sometimes unhinged memories as they relate to moments of my life , but y...