Thoughts on the 2022 Midterm Elections

I didn’t want a bunch of the looney right to win last Tuesday. But I equally didn’t want the looney left to further wreck havoc on this country. Yes, I’m talking about the social/cultural left that seems to have a hatred for anything white and straight, and bend over further if you happen to be white, straight and male.

The left has very methodically, over years of public school brainwashing, turned good into bad, night into day, up into down, to the point that living today like we did just 25 years ago — seems ‘extremist’ or ‘hateful’.

And the worst part? We aren’t even allowed to talk about it. It’s to the point where the social left believes that discussion about any of the topics we lump together as the “Culture Wars,” must have acceptable parameters (so as to not “offend” anyone) and only allow “acceptable” discussion. How dare simple facts be discussed.

I think America is actually center-left when it comes to most economic issues. I also believe the country is center-right on most cultural issues. There is no political party with the stated purpose of reaching those people. At least not in the United States.

Today’s Democratic and Republican parties are broken and have served their useful purpose. Today, America needs a massive realignment of the organized body politic, and a return to election integrity that allows for legitimate absentee ballots and everyone else voting on the same federal Election Day holiday, over a 15 hour period — with only essential businesses open (or similar scenario).

There’s lots of talk about, “threats to democracy,” but the threat is not just from one group of Americans, it’s all around us, from both major political parties, and sometimes even masquerading as actual defenders of democracy.

Time is running out for the American people to act.

Woke Crap Will Ruin Liberal Economics

I have been very disappointed to see “progressive” become a synonym for “woke.” If that continues, I will not be using the word “progressive.” Where does the silliness end? Anybody that knows me understands I am left-of-center on economics. The war of the 1% on everyone else is real. Monopoly capital has a stranglehold on America and we are becoming one of the most unequal economic societies the world has ever seen. But, does that mean that race is the paramount issue in America today? Absolutely not. Yet, a “progressive,” is expected to toe this racist woke line that white people are bad, that whites have much to make up for,  and shame on white people for not standing with radical black racists making truly bizarre demands. If we don’t accept this narrative we are threatened by the mob for a reservation on Cancel Island. Enough is enough.

Throw in the agenda of LGTBQGYVPWZRidiculous and I’m pushed away even more from progressivism. The “left” at one time was a term used almost exclusively to describe where one stood on economic issues. That day is far behind us. So, who wins from all the division? Answer: the uber-wealthy who are making out like bandits while attention is focused on these phony race and gender issues. It seems our elections are now decided – in major ways – by where we all fall in this phony woke crap from the so-called left. These people are engaging in a phony movement that will push the cause of liberalism back twenty years. I’ve had it. I will not hesitate to call out the Maoist cultural left which harms the cause of economic justice for all people.

Two recent articles seem to hit the target for me:

Andrew Sullivan on all this woke nonsense

An opinion piece on Bill Maher

Those two links sum it up for me. I am tired of being called a “conservative” because I despise woke Maoism.

In 2016, I wrote an article (A Few Modest Proposals) that lay out an aggressive agenda on economic issues…

– I still support a true National Health Plan. Public funds but private doctors. A variation on the Canadian model.
– I still support breaking up the big banks and ending their outsized role in American life.
– I still support a several-Trillion-Dollar plan to rebuild America’s deteriorating infrastructure.
– I still support ending corporate welfare (public money grabs of, by, and for the wealthy).
– I still support a massive crackdown on criminality. Communities must take every measure to stop crime and quit worrying about what color the criminals are. Safe communities and law & order should not be conservative issues or liberal issues – they are community issues.

This is where I stand. Don’t call me conservative – but don’t call me progressive either. We can all think as individuals, no need for boxed-in labels that say more about our intellectual laziness than anything. No matter what you choose to call me – just don’t call me “woke.”

Mike Swickey



Carroll Swickey (my dad) – What?

Dad’s been gone for almost nine years. He would be 90 today. One thing I know with a fair amount of certainty — he would hate the world of 2020. That a vulgar sociopath is president would be a shock to him, that the vulgar sociopath is Donald Trump would take it to a new level. He would ask, I am sure, “What did you expect?” Oh, I can hear it, “The guy is a narcissistic clown, a known conman, a pervert, a complete phony, yet you elected him President?” Not me dad, no way could I ever vote for such a man. But yes, the country, via the electoral college, elected Donald Trump as President of the United States.

So, today, on what would be his 90th birthday, I sit and marvel at what has become “normal,” from our president and wonder what my father would have thought. I think I know. The above would be pretty close, but who knows? If he watched Fox News, listened to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, maybe I would be all wrong in my fantasy birthday dialogue. I say that because there are plenty of people who I thought wouldn’t sit still for a moment with such a man as president, not only sit still, they actively support this man. Oh, and if I told him that many of these supporters of Donald Trump are Christians? And they make excuses for his toddler-like behavior and claim that God is using him?

Dad? You there? Hello, Dad? Yeah. Pretty much my thoughts too. It’s crazy hard to believe in too many ways to count.

Anyway, 90 years old today.
Dare I say,  I’m glad he’s not here to see all this?

Oh Dad, (back to the fantasy), if you can still hear me, there was no Kentucky Derby in May.  They have postponed it until September. A big maybe, like everything else, because of the pandemic. Oh! I didn’t mention the pandemic?

The photograph is my dad in 1949 as a proud member of the University of Oklahoma track team.

My Medical Bill Story

I have received one letter after another, one phone call after another, about an overdue bill my local hospital says I “owe.” One way that Americans can be responsible and help lower health care costs is to actually request and receive an itemized bill for all services, products, injections, etc. I have asked for an itemized bill on four seperate occasions from the hospital group (a huge conglamerate) and have yet to receive one. I have received what the hospital considers an itemized bill but, by definition, is not. Their bill shows very broad categories that tell me nothing. You and I would not be expected to receive a receipt for, say, groceries and only find:

Meat ——— $67.08
Vegetables — $41.73
Snacks ——- $31.07

Would we?

An itemized bill, by definition, is item-by-item.

Pot Roast —-$11.95
Deli Ham —- $9.54
Prime Rib —-$21.00
Prime Rib —-$21.00

You get the idea.

Seeing a truly itemized bill for a surgical procedure from a hospital is eye-opening. You’ll see everything your insurance company and you were charged for. Some of it is legitimate and frankly, most times the bill is full of things you never used. You’ll see the cost for “Facility Fee,” “Recovery Room Fee,” “Warmed Blankets,” “Consultation.” (with who? For what?), “Wheel Chair Use,” (to take you to the car even when you tell them you are fine and will take it from here). I’m not sure what you call this, but the closest I can come to is — scam. The simple fact is that most people find a truly itemized medical bill for a hospital procedure is full of garbage that you didn’t ever use.

But first, the trick is to even get a truly itemized bill. They do not want you to see it and they believe the broad categories are enough for you to pony up a couple of thousand to their “Patient Billing” department. Even after your insurance company has paid them ten thousand dollars! In other words, we allow the healthcare industry to normalize doing things in ways that we would never accept with anything else.

And then, more bills for the same procedure: surgeon, anesthesiologist, imaging, radiologist (to read the images), the list can be quite long. Yes, you really need to get an itemized bill for all of these bills and challenge them when they are wrong or obviously padded. Many times you will find they are asking you to pay what the insurance company already did. Yeah, the more I think of it, I am absolutely certain “scam,” is the right word.

All of the above is another reason we need single-payer health care sooner rather than later. The Medical/Insurance/Hospital complex has seen their day. Huge profits have been made and it’s time to end it all by eliminating multiple payers in health care, offer menu pricing for all procedures and services, and bring the fleecing to an end.

Mike Swickey


A Few Modest Proposals

We’ll soon know whether Donald Trump plans to be the economic populist he claimed to be on the campaign trail. Will he lower the boom on crime in the executive suites as well as the crime-ridden streets? Will he finally hold Wall Street and the bank gangsters accountable and prosecute the crimes from 2007-present? Or, will we see a dismantling of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, repeal of Dodd-Frank, and a shutdown of attempts to reinstate Glass–Steagall?

I am hoping not to see the soon-to-be President Trump pander to the rich and powerful (like himself) and expand the corporatocracy over the people. If he does, we’ll see a backlash even harsher than Trump’s own surprise over the establishment political class. We’ll see divisions we haven’t seen in many years.

What might happen if President-Elect Trump extends the powers of corporate America over the people? If “Obama created Donald Trump,” then you’ll see President Trump throw gasoline on the fire of the movement that supported Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries.

It isn’t a movement ala “The Bill and Hillary Clinton Coalition” of Identity Politics. That big tent of disgruntled/victimized groups fighting for their own race, gender, sexual orientation, insert-pet-divisive-cultural-issue, should be over. You saw the future of the Democratic Party in the Sanders campaign. The one with all the crowds, the one with all the passion and excitement, the one that was hoodwinked by the DNC who rigged the process for Mrs. Clinton. The Sanders movement was about income/wealth inequality, economic injustice, and bringing people together as a class to rebuild the great middle class in America. This movement is united by class – not Identity Politics.

Here’s a modest proposal (okay, several) to spell out the agenda I support…

– A several Trillion Dollar plan to rebuild America’s deteriorating infrastructure.
Rebuild our roads, bridges, airports, rail yards, schools…a massive WPA-like mission to save our crumbling national infrastructure. A trip to many other countries with modern cities will tell you this is a must.

– Private doctors, private hospitals, but with one payer.
Eliminate “health insurance” which serves no medical purpose whatsoever. All medical needs (including dental, vision, mental health) would be paid for by a progressive tax, mostly on the top 3% and the unearned income of the top 1% with a single, non-profit, public payer. Swipe a card that every American will carry and receive needed treatment. Health care would be universal, paid for, and available for all – regardless of “ability to pay.” The state of a person’s health should no longer depend on the size of their wealth.

Break-up and nationalize the Mega Banks, putting them under public control.
Massive financial and monetary policy reform. Return personal banking to the local communities with their original mission. End the independence and free-rein of our central bank: the private Federal Reserve. That champagne-popping party of collusion with other central banks around the world – as well as the revolving door to and from the Mega Banks – will end and the banks will be put in public hands. The central bank will be audited by Congress. There needs to be many changes in the shady, corrupt, Brave New Financial World that has gone on a tear redistributing wealth to the already very rich. Obscene amounts of money making even more obscene amounts of money by shuffling paper and to think they think they are “working” and actually, “earning” their ridiculous compensations. No. We no longer have capitalism in this country, the free market is a myth, as the big corporations take in billions in corporate welfare and it’s as if anti-trust laws don’t even exist. Monopoly capital has a stranglehold on our economy. That needs to stop. Soon.

– Outlaw private ownership of electricity and natural gas companies.
 These are the monopoly companies that provide services to our communities and bilk the consumers at every opportunity. Public utilities should once again truly be public. This would end the practice of for-profit corporate behemoths operating not to provide power and light, but to make outlandish profits using energy-to-the-consumer as their product. Production for use – not profit. The plunder must stop. It will happen sooner than many think.

– End corporate welfare.
Too many corporations, from retail conglomerates to sports teams to Big Energy rush to the public trough for tax-breaks and outright capitalization from taxpayers. Many of these corporations are the loudest proponents of so-called “Free Enterprise,” “Free Markets.” But too often we see socialism for the rich and powerful and “Free Enterprise” for everyone else.

Democratic Socialism is about the economy. It is NOT about Identity Politics. Bernie Sanders has understood this for years. The focus must be shifted away from individual grievance groups to a united working and middle class to fight the class war that has been waged on the people by the very rich for decades – without any real fight back. It has resulted in a corrupt, paid-for oligarchy masquerading as a democratic republic.

Make our communities safe. With an uptick in supportive measures for the poor and working class, there should be a downtick in property crime, thefts, robberies, etc. If there are not, the communities must take every measure to stop crime and criminals should be swiftly dealt with. Safe communities and law & order should not be conservative issues or liberal issues – they are people issues.

See? Just modest proposals (cough, cough). But It’s a start.

Mike Swickey

Saddened – Social Media, Election 2016 and Beyond

Government and the excitement of political campaigns – a passion of mine since I was a young boy. I was the 8-year-old kid who would proudly say I wanted to be a politician when I grew up. To think that was in the times of great turmoil in America – 1968. The assassination of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, riots in the cities, the disastrous 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, a horrible war in Vietnam, and the election of Richard Nixon in a squeaker over Hubert Humphrey. 1968 was truly a year that will always be remembered for turmoil.

Fast forward to 2016. We all live in a different world of instant everything. The internet, 24/7 multiple news channels, social media, and again, great division.

This presidential cycle has been one of surprises around every corner and the improbable Republican insurgency campaign of Donald Trump. Yes, the billionaire playboy, reality TV star, wins the Republican nomination. Pundits a year earlier had written him off as a novelty candidate, a joke, a modern P.T. Barnum, someone who had zero chance at the nomination. It’s been a campaign like none other. One where truth doesn’t matter. Decency and decorum are thrown out the window. A campaign, and a candidate, who knows no shame.

This could be a very long piece about Donald Trump and his campaign from Hell. But, instead, this is about something that has fueled his campaign – the rise of social media. The rise of Facebook memes, Twitter tweets (with truly tasteless hashtags), and all of the new internet platforms that have given anyone with a keyboard or a phone an instant voice to the national discussion – no matter their knowledge (or lack thereof) of context, history, government, or anything else for that matter. We’ve seen lies and conspiracy theories passed off as truth. YouTube videos, with no basis in truth, connecting these conspiracies one to another left for people to stumble upon and take them at face value. For me, this is the sad story that has poured gasoline on the fire of American politics and given rise to a huge bloc of Low Information Voters who have been able to take their voice to the world. Voters who can only process the issues as long as the depth of thought fits on a bumpersticker, a 140-character tweet, a Facebook poster – and yes, influenced by those YouTube videos filled with nonsense and accepted as gospel. People new to the process and using these powerful internet tools, call those that oppose their man (or woman) mentally deranged, stupid, Un-American, and far, far worse. When, in reality, they have no idea what they are writing about except in context of the one-liners and fire bombs from Twitter, The Drudge Report, Fox News, Facebook, and other sources of information from the darkest corners of paranoia and sickness on the web.

I have always had a healthy skepticism of the internet and social media culture. In fact, sometimes I have been convinced that it’s all done far more harm than good. This 2016 campaign has made me lean far more to the latter. I have participated (in fits and starts) in this culture and have only become more convinced that social media only assists in breeding ignorance, hate, and lack of civil discourse in the democratic process in ways far more powerful than the possibilities for positive use.

On several occasions in the past few years I have become disgusted at this always-on, internet obsessed culture of insanity. Whether it be because of the great time suck, seeing people with their heads down staring constantly at their phones, realizing that we have become a society addicted (in every clinical sense of the term) to this technology, or observing the new, high-tech abilities we have that make it so easy for people to be so awful to one another. But, without question, it’s been the campaign of 2016 that has been the biggest eye-opener of them all. It saddens me to see a political process, that I once loved, become a cesspool of hatred and ignorance, fueled on by a con artist and huckster like Donald Trump and social media memes. The “other” side hasn’t been wonderful, but it’s a far cry from what we’ve seen from Donald Trump. It’s about debating within the “norms” versus something we’ve never seen before – a national campaign based on lies that need to be fact checked 24/7.  A debate about policies is now a quaint notion – maybe gone forever – except in the corners of fresh air where people actually come together (almost surely offline) and discuss actual issues, policy proposals, and goals as a nation. It’s not happening in social media or the data hogging town squares, owned and operated by young billionaires, that are now populated, polluted, and driven by the lowest common denominator.

All I have described above is beyond sad to me, it is a devastating blow to my hopes for the future of our planet. This brave new world is a dark, dark place. Decency, at its core, has been hijacked by this instant, always-on, impulsive, culture of web addiction and the dumbing down of our society as a whole. Some of us remember times that were turbulent (like 1968), but were certainly recoverable. Today, I’m not so sure.

– Mike Swickey

Time Out…Pause…On-Hold

I am still fighting with my paradoxical feelings toward the internet.

Two quick quotes from others that sum it up…

“I am not a Luddite. I am suspicious of technology. I am perfectly aware of its benefits, but I also try to pay attention to some of the negative effects.”

Neil Postman
(If only Postman were alive today to see this internet anarchy).

“The internet was supposed to liberate knowledge, but in fact it buried it, first under a vast sewer of ignorance, laziness, bigotry, superstition and filth and then beneath the cloak of political surveillance. Now…cyberspace exists exclusively to promote commerce, gossip and pornography. And of course to hunt down sedition. Only paper is safe. Books are the key. A book cannot be accessed from afar, you have to hold it, you have to read it.”

Ben Elton, author of Blind Faith

Tired. Worn out. Disgusted. Sad.
Time out…Pause…On-hold…I’ll be back.

High School Memories

Bad Time–Grand Funk Railroad

We all have our songs that transport us back in time.  For me, “Bad Time” by Grand Funk Railroad (see video above) takes me and slams me down in the passenger seat in the car of my best friend in high school. Richard Foster’s Volkswagen Beetle, took us all over Oklahoma City – hitting the Mustard Seed, cruising 39th street, Shotgun Sam’s Pizza, Northwest Hiway Drive-In theater, MacArthur Park Speedway, Hemi’s Pizza, NWC Knights basketball in the gymnasium, football at Taft Stadium, Highlander bowling alley, on and on. “Bad Time” ( and “Jackie Blue” by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils – “Magic” by Pilot – Elton John’s “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy” album, The Beach Boys “Endless Summer” album…so many) was a part of the soundtrack of my life during a very exciting time in those early years. My four years at Northwest Classen High School, class of 1977, had its ups and downs, but the great memories with Richard and our friends in the Summer of ‘75 come back in an instant with this song. Good memories.

Nostalgia is one of the most powerful, and underestimated, emotions known to modern mankind. The simple dictionary definition doesn’t do justice to the power of the word:

Nostalgia: näˈstaljə — “A sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.”

The definition is true, but doesn’t capture the dark side of the term. Melancholy is linked to nostalgia when those memories recall a time you feel was better than today. In reality, nostalgia is rooted in change. As change occurs – friends have moved on, passed away; landmarks are torn down, values change, we see all this and wonder, “What has happened to the world I knew?” It is a near universal feeling that can bring on sadness, not just memories, for days gone by. There is no question that nostalgia is a double-sided coin.

I will admit to a certain sadness remembering the high school days I mentioned above. The “simpler” time, the good fun, the mistakes made, the feelings I am sure I hurt, the realization that I never fully appreciated what a great time of life it truly was. I was very much the political and cultural rebel in high school. It was, after all, just a short time removed from the disaster known as Vietnam. It was still a time of campus upheaval on college campuses across the country. Injustice was the enemy. Empowering students was the new call of the rebel, while administration seemed more interested in turning out good little robots. Some of us believed that little consideration was given to students as thinking people with lives ahead that included more than simple preparation to enter the work force and sell our labor/knowledge. Now, don’t get me wrong, most students at Northwest Classen 1974-1977, in all honesty, couldn’t have cared less about student dissent. For better or worse, I was an outlier to be sure.  For me, political/student rebellion is still a very real part of my high school memories..

However, I am only a song away from remembering all the good times from the summer of ‘75. Other songs, like Rod Stewart’s “Tonight’s The Night,” Pablo Cruise singing, “Whatcha Gonna Do?”, David Bowie’s “Young Americans,” Manfred Mann’s “Blinded by the Light,” and many other tunes, define different times during my years at Northwest.

Nostalgia: It can bring misty eyes, it can bring a big smile, but make no mistake – it is a powerful emotion that we all fall deep into at one time or another (especially later in life). High school memories can bring on some of the most powerful feelings of nostalgia, but there are many others —  for me, childhood is filled with nostalgic longing; my early years in broadcasting bring back memories very strongly. But thinking back to NWC, class of ’77, it’s mostly bliss. Memories of another time.
Mike Swickey