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Speaker L

Award-winning broadcast journalist...political consultant...writer...photographer...pilot



The StillWater Club

A luncheon club for senior men

Click for audio

Stillwater Club
Pebble Beach Lodge
Thursday, April 21st

(Working Notes)



Thanks to Walt Conley.

He saw me standing by the Highway One gate with a cardboard sign that read “Will Orate for Food.”

We negotiated. I said I could do an hour for a sandwich and insisted on a deposit.

He offered a half-sandwich for a half-hour.

A favorite of mine...peanut butter and...? peanut butter.

Walt, did you want a receipt?

Walt and I met last month so he could vet met and to alert me not to be too extreme. We had a great talk. If Walt is a liberal, this ain’t gonna be a lotta fun for most of you.

First, I want to note that out of respect to this August assembly, I don’t have a dog-eared run-of-the-mill speech. Everything I have to say is........ad lib.

As regards Walk don’t run...you might think I don’t want to win.

You’re right.

I’m happy to stay here on the Monterey Peninsula, but I want someone in the White House who will fix what’s broken.

And I have a platform for that person.

It’s the Progressive-Conservative Platform – the new P-C.

First, to be clear. I’m not an Obama fan. If I were advising someone to run against him – whether a Republican, an Independent, or even a Democrat from the cojones wing of his party – it might be with a simple, one-word slogan like, “Disappointed?”

This country is aching for leadership. We’ve had none from this administration. I mean, when the White House announced their five-point plan to dealing with Libyan leader Khadaffi, it was something like , “Please…pretty please…pretty pretty please…with sugar on it…aw, come on.”

I should also note that if this person with my platform were to run as a Republican, he could clear the field by supplying not a birth certificate but an E-E-G, as proof that of actual brain activity.

Personally, I’m registered DtS - Decline to State...which isn’t a proper appellation since I don’t decline to state. I don’t like any political party. They’re only about winning and holding power, not about fixing what’s wrong.

Back in 1976, some of you are old enough to remember, when the NY Daily News ran a headline that read “Ford to NY: Drop Dead” there was a suggestion that the city should secede from the union, fire a shot in the direction of New Jersey, surrender and demand reparations. We on the Monterey Peninsula might consider that an alternative if my candidate doesn’t win.

And by the way, this isn’t just about winning the White House. I expect a whole bunch of bright, competent folks – when they hear about this platform – will enter the Congressional races in their states and districts. I’m confident that we will win a third of the Senate and the other two-thirds will either join us or announce their plans to retire at the end of their term.

As regards the lower chamber, sanity will continue to vie with incumbent hysteria, corruption and greed...conditions which afflict both parties.

One of the major difficulties in sorting out the disaster that is Washington is that many politicians claim to be conservatives, but they are far from it.

The essential tenets of true conservatives are CONSERVATION, NO FOREIGN WARS, A BALANCED BUDGET, and PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. The vast majority of Republicans, and those Democrats who call themselves conservative have opposed every measure that preserves the environment, they supported the invasion of Iraq, they voted for trillions in tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, and as regards personal responsibility, they don’t think individuals should have a right to choose their friends, and women shouldn’t be able to determine their own reproductive rights.

This is not to say that they are wrong, necessarily. Just that they aren’t conservatives.

I would add that most Democrats would fail any test as truly progressive.

So I would like to run by you some of the truly conservative issues in the P-C Platform.


– environment - “An Inconvenient Truth” – I didn’t get an Emmy for my docs, but I have the credentials to know a quality piece of worth and that is one. Whether or not you like Al Gore

– why the US is so backward about climate change...weather casters; record violent weather over the past decade; what if the deniers are wrong?

– End subsidies to biofuels.

– End subsidies for fossil fuels.

– Launch at Manhattan-style project to develop photovoltaics.


– First, let’s get our terms right and stop referring to what we’re doing with our $1.5 T military budget at national security. Every year we spend more money than it would take payoff every would be terrorist on the planet, including the Mexican cartels and every member of every street gang in our country...and we are, every year, less secure.

– Chalmers Johnson has written brilliant that for 60 years our economy has been run according to the precepts of military Keynesianism. What Eisenhower so famously called the military-industrial-complex. There is so much money involved in building and selling weapons that it has bankrupted our economy. Military contractors are the fourth branch of government. 63% of all research in our country is spent on military projects. It’s not only crazy – and immoral – but it has driven us over the edge of the cliff.

– We need to reduce our military budget, and in point of fact, we could easily defend our shores – do a much better job in fact – spending only $50B a year.

– Step one is to bring home our troops from the 174 countries where we have them stationed. We don’t need 100,000 troops in Europe. We don’t need huge bases in Okinawa and Guam. By having our troops every where, we don’t make people feel safe, and we make our country a target.

– Remember when Russia got into a war with Georgia two summers ago. American forces had been in Georgia training their troops to invade the disputed territories.

– I should admit that I was all in favor of Russia taking Geogia, but my condition was that they take Alabama and Mississippi, too.


– A lot of the war issues are budget issues, as just noted. But here are some other specifics, starting with health care.

– We rank 36th in the world in health care. 43rd in infant mortality. First in costs.

– So here are some definitive proposals:

          Ban smoking in public – indoors and outdoors.

          Provide Medicare at cost for all of our citizens.

          Eliminate all of the extra testing that’s done to cover medical butts.

Limit malpractice payouts to a cost-plus basis.

Allow Medicare to negotiate prices with the drug companies.

Shift the majority of health care from hospitals to clinics.

Teach hygiene, nutrition, and exercise in our schools.

These measures would save $750 B a year...Every year, forever.

 – Another critical area where we could make progress in balancing the budget is our criminal justice system. Our recidivism rate is out of sight and very costly. We need to keep violent offenders locked up until they pose no threat to society, and have non-violent offenders working off their offense, costs, and penalty to benefit the community.

– Decriminalize so-called victimless crimes drugs, gambling, and prostitution. It would reduce costs of nearly a trillion a year in law enforcement, prosecution, and imprisonment, while making us safer and healthier. And convert these activities from criminal to social issues, would make them huge revenue generators. I mean, how can we have laws against gambling when we have Indian casinos and Wall Street?

 – We need tort reform. As in other civilized countries, end the gridlock in our courts by having losers pay reasonable court costs. Of course there would be some exceptions, but people suing because there wasn’t a toy in their Cracker Jacks box is nuts.

– Other court reform would involve eliminating the nonsensical stalling that wastes time and money in discovery when the facts are known. The major who killed all of those people at Ft. Hood. He hasn’t gone to trial and there is no question of his guilt. Maybe his sanity. The same with the Tucson killer. These cases should be decided in a month, not years.


– Then there is the more widespread and highly corrosive matter of illegal immigration.

- Back in 2006, I conducted interviews with over 250 House, Senate and gubernatorial challengers. I asked some of them what they thought my idea to cancel school Thanksgiving Week so we could have all the school buses available. Then take the 12 M illegal immigrants, bus them all to Texas, give Texas back to Mexico. Some thought it was a good idea.

– A better idea is convert them to taxpayers. Require that they register within 60 days or be immediately deported. Put them on three years probation, require that they learn English in the first year, and that they stop sending money out of the country.

– Put a halt to all immigration until we get this situation under control.

– What it comes down to for me is that I believe that anyone in this country in need of help should be able to approach anyone and ask for a doctor or police or simply directions, but that’s not the way it is. And talk of national security, if we can’t even communicate in our own communities, well, we are wide open to sedition and invasion. United we stand, and we are not united so long as 15 M people living in our country are not Americans.


This area overlaps when talking about citizenship, and about national security. – We have lost sight of what it means to be American.

– A pet bugaboo of mine is the use of hyphenates. We have African-Americans, Latin-Americans, Native-Americans, Handicapped -Americans...I’ve been on a campaign for most of the past decade to end hyphenates. People who put another word before American are undermining our country, when they don’t think of themselves as Americans first.

– Yes, we all have other cultures in our lifelines, but now we need to focus on being American.

– We also have to be less sensitive about everything. Did you know that there is a new version of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” that has eliminated the word “nigger”? I’m sorry but that’s lunacy, and a disgrace to some of the finest literature in the history of our civilization. Indeed we are so bent-over-back­wards sensitive that when people say the “n-word” it has so much baggage people cringe. Maybe we should call it the n-n-word or the n-word-word.

– Our history is mostly a noble climb. We shouldn’t be ashamed of it, try to erase it.

– This personal note...a few years after my grandfather – who was a very noble man – died, I went to Florida to visit with my grandmother. She drove me all around the community, introducing me as Karl’s grandson. At a gas station, she told the pumpman who I was, and this wizened old white man with very few teeth said to me, “Your granddaddy was a great man. He taught me to say Neegro instead of niggah.” Does that offend any of you?

There are a number of P-C progressive-conservative planks to my platform that don’t particularly fit in the four categories I’ve discussed so let me briefly touch on some of them.

--The biggest is education. Thomas Jefferson said, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” Our country is at stake here.

We used to be tops in education, and now we’re plumbing the bottom, at least relative to the rest of the developed nations on the planet. One of the reasons is this unfortunate fact: 47% of K-12 teachers are drawn from bottom quarter of college grads.

– We desperately need to fill our schools not with wardens but with great teachers. Instead we are cutting hundreds of thousands of teaching positions around the country, in the name of dealing with deficits.

Pshaw. We should keep those we have but increase the school year to 220 days. That should separate the serious teachers from those just holding a job.

– Second, dramatically expand vocational training. Everyone needs to know the three Rs and many can then go on to learning a trade instead of wasting time in college simply to get a degree.

– Third, expand ESL training everywhere. There should be no excuse for people living in this country to not speak the language of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, two of the greatest documents in the history of civilization....in English.

– Fourth, teach citizenship to every child. We have tragically low awareness of public issues, and half of the eligibles in our country don’t even vote. That’s a disgrace. (Many more Americans can name two of the seven dwarfs than two of the nine Supreme Court justices, according to a recent survey.)

– And fifth, a favorite issue...bussing. The purpose of bussing is to share bad schools by sending students from poor areas to better districts. The problem is, the students can’t vote so the schools stay poor. If we instead bussed the administrators and teachers to the bad schools, you can be sure that there would be serious political pressure to fix them.

– Also, I’d require uniforms on all public school children. It would reduce mischief and increase focus on studies.

 And here are some miscellaneous planks in my P-C platform...

– I’d require every 18-year-old to do 18 months of national service.

– I’d dramatically reduce business costs and gasoline consumption, cut postal deliveries cut from six days to two.

– I’d reduce noise pollution by banning car horns from going off when people use a remote to lock their vehicles. How dumb. How lazy. Only blind people really might need them and who wants them driving anyway.

– I’d require tobacco retailers to collect a nickel butt disposal deposit on every cigarette they sell, and require cigarette makers to pay the deposit for every cigarette butt that is turned in, including all of those that have already been sold. San Francisco spends $11 MM a year picking up cigarette trash. Plus the people who would be involved in the massive clean-up of our nation could use the money.

– I’d ban all television advertising targeting children under 16. Children don’t understand caveat emptor, parents don’t need the added pressure, and there are limited resources that shouldn’t be spent on junk, especially the junk food that is responsible for our obesity epidemic. It is primarily the result of television advertising for a bad diet.

Here’s the bottom line for my Progressive-Conservative plan. We are a wealthy country with mostly good people. Some of our people need help and we should provide it. Every member of our society should have food, clothing, shelter, health care...and opportunity...but it should be on our terms. No more money handouts, no more script. We provide the necessities for those in need in the form of housing, food products and not junk, hand-me-down goods and clothing, no television, and health care based on personal responsibility.

– And there has to be give-back. People who receive from the community need to serve the community, say for a minimum of 20 hours a week, walking the streets, picking up litter, monitoring playgrounds, cleaning public facilities. They can join CCC-style work forces to clear brush, fill sandbags, and other tasks that benefit the common weal. Not only will the generosity of the people be rewarded, but it will generate more of a sense of community.

Finally this warning. I’m not sure that we are ready for democracy. I think we were, for a while, but I don’t know about today. We have an incredible communications structure in place to inform, but most people use it to be distracted. In truth, all too many Americans have little sense of what it means to be citizens in a democratic republic, and our nationhood is fraying. 

What we need to do is to find people to manage our national, state and local governance properly. But they must be people who are not in it for the job; not for the job title. We need people who want to get the job done. This platform that I’ve outlined today, in all due humility, can be a beginning road map to restore the luster to the shining city on the hill.

Thank you.


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