Saturday, November 26, 2011

My comments to the Heritage blog regarding Obamacare

I have written several comments to articles about Obamacare that were posted online on the Heritage Foundation blog. My comments always contend that a better solution to the health care problem in America is my proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would guarantee Universal Health Care as a Constitutional right for all American citizens. I am copying my Heritage blog comments here without making edits or changes of any sort. Consequently, some of my writing might seem to be taken out of context. To provide the context for my writing, I have in every case included a web link to the article that provoked my comment.

Steven A. Sylwester

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I highly recommend that all readers find the time to watch two PBS FRONTLINE programs: "Sick Around America" and "Sick Around The World." Both programs can be viewed online for free at:

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Side Effects: Obamacare Creates More Unnecessary Work for Already Swamped Doctors

by Margot Crouch

March 11, 2011 at 5:00 pm


Let us all agree: The health care system in the United States has a problem.

Let us all agree: Obamacare does not fix the problem.

Let us all agree: Obamacare needs to be repealed.

Let us all agree: The problem in the U.S. health care system needs to be correctly identified, and then it needs to be permanently solved with an effective system-wide fix.

Let us all agree: A system-wide fix to a national problem must involve the federal government.

Let us all agree: The federal government is "We The People" as an ideal and as an actuality; the federal government is not "those Washington DC bureaucrats" in wrongful collusion with the U.S. Congress, even if it seems so by every possible observation.

Let us all agree: We are capable of being adults and of doing the right thing, and we can act in the best interests of America to restore and then preserve our nation's integrity and its economic greatness.

Let us all agree: We have demonstrated our potential to be our worst enemy, and we must overcome the temptations that lurk in the dark side of capitalism where the importance of people is replaced by the importance of money as measured in profits.

Let us all agree: Our spouses, our children, our mothers, our fathers, our siblings, our friends, and our neighbors are more important than any corporation anywhere by every measure that truly matters, which are the measures of love found in caring, in kindness, in giving, and in forgiving — to love is to give without measure and without recompense. Corporations love no one. If love is to be an ingredient in America's goodness, then it must come from that "of the people, by the people, for the people" stuff that President Abraham Lincoln spoke of in his Gettysburg Address.

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Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom— and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

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Let us all agree: President Lincoln's resolve "that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom" is a resolve that every new generation of Americans must join in with utmost sincerity — out of duty, out of honor, out of respect, and out of patriotism. The signers of The Declaration of Independence put their signatures under these concluding words: "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor." As citizens of The United States of America in the year 2011, our mutual pledge to each other should be no less than that.

Let us all agree: Each one of us has something to offer America, and the gift that each one of us brings is worthy of note and of proper consideration, even if the gifts of some seem contrary and difficult. Remember, America was made by these welcomed people:
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Some of those welcomed people were ever only expert in their own opinions, but national greatness came of that. Those biblical days in our nation's history are not over yet, nor should they ever be over. Nourishment and truth is found in the salt of the earth — yes, even in those sorts of people whose education comes from living life.

I offer my gift:

You — the good people of The Heritage Foundation and its supporters — do not want to accept my gift, because it goes contrary to too many things that you hold sacred. But I ask: What is sacred? Webster's Dictionary defines the word "sacred" in this case as: "devoted exclusively to one service or use (as of a person or purpose)." Therefore, what? and why? and how? "When?" is now. "Where?" is here.

President Abraham Lincoln said on a Civil War battlefield what needs to be said again now: "It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom— and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Please accept my gift by reading my proposal. Thank you.

Steven A. Sylwester


Bobbie: Your use of "of, for and by the people" refers to what I wrote, so I will respond as if your comments were directed at me.

I am not participating in a game to complicate the U.S. health care system. If anything, I am doing my utmost to simplify the system.

Furthermore, I am not "trying to wear out the true American leaders." If anything, I am doing my utmost to call those leaders to the task of doing what needs to be done.

Bobbie, I can only conclude that you have not read my proposal from beginning to end. Please do so.

The U.S. health care system is driven by profit making, because its structure is a fear-based corporate enterprise that is multi-layered and interlocking throughout. Not one bit of it is altruistic, because the system does not allow for altruism. At its most basic is this suffering: the escalating cost of medical malpractice insurance instills fear in physicians, clinics, and hospitals by keeping the real threat of lawsuits at the forefront of all decision-making processes.

If you sort out the medical malpractice insurance costs problem, what you will find are parasites — very well-fed parasites who live off of the U.S. health care system without bringing any benefit to it at all. Those parasites are the lawyers and the insurance companies that specialize in medical malpractice. The amount of money siphoned out of the system by those parasites is staggeringly enormous. Worse than that: the "siphoned out" amount grows and grows each and every year. It is robbery that is akin to the doings of organized crime, except that it is done in broad daylight while everyone watches and acquiesces. We must rid the U.S. health care system of its parasites.

But the "profit making" is not just spurred by outside forces. There is plenty of internal greed, too. When the system promises a good living to its players, then the system needs to deliver on that promise — and so rules are made, and best practices are established. Unfortunately, "rules" and "best practices" made by a self-governing system always err on the side of self-interest, which — in a profit-making scheme — always results in more profits.

Ask yourself: If I were a physician, what would I do? Would I permanently cure attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in my patient with an effective diet recommendation? Or would I place my patient in a chronic condition status that would require ongoing prescription care and regular office visits over many years? If I were a profit-minded physician, the temptation would be to do the latter.

Ask yourself: If I were a physician, what would I do? Would I permanently cure asthma in my patient with an effective Vitamin D regimen? Or would I place my patient in a chronic condition status that would require ongoing prescription care and regular office visits over many years? If I were a profit-minded physician, the temptation would be to do the latter.

I can assure you with firsthand certainty that Vitamin D can literally cure asthma in at least some cases, but no pharmaceutical company making asthma-related drugs would ever want you to know that, nor would many profit-minded physicians who specialize in treating asthma and allergies. The system protects its own — and its own are not the patients!

Bobbie, maybe you can ignore all of the above, but you cannot ignore this:
The Associated Press news article "Preemie Birth Preventive Spikes From $10 To $1,500" reports an outrage — a price-gouging outrage — that should never be considered acceptable. Yet the article was written in Atlanta on March 10, 2011, and it reports: "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is not involved in setting the price for the drugs it approves." In other words, the U.S. health care system fully approves of the pricing strategy of "KV Pharmaceutical of suburban St.Louis," because free enterprise capitalism is the American way of doing business.

Bobbie, I believe in capitalism. But capitalism only works in a free and open system that is fully vulnerable to market corrections. A market correction cannot happen in a closed system, nor can it happen to a monopoly, nor can it happen when price-fixing collusion is taking place. Monopolies are illegal. So too is price-fixing collusion.

There is another kind of collusion that happens naturally in a closed system, and I will call it tit-for-tat collusion. It is the sort of collusion that is evident in the following excerpt from the "Preemie Birth Preventive ..." article linked above: "But Snow and others said someone is going to have to pay the higher price. Some of the burden will fall on health insurance companies, which will have to raise premiums or other costs to their other customers." Of course, the health insurance companies will raise premiums (tit) enough to accommodate KV Pharmaceutical's pricing (tat) — and then raise them a little bit more just to be sure that their profits are not hurt.

THERE IS NO DOUBT ABOUT IT: The U.S. health care system is a closed system that has created a huge economic bubble as a consequence of rampant tit-for-tat collusion throughout its system. That economic bubble would certainly suffer a market correction in a capitalism system that was free and open, but the closed system and its inherent collusion work together to make a market correction impossible. Consequently, the needed market correction will necessarily occur somewhere else in the U.S. economy as a mysterious hemorrhage that defies explanation. But worse: the mysterious hemorrhage will only serve to compound the problem.

THE TERRIBLE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THIS: The U.S. economy currently has two huge economic bubbles that must endure market corrections but are not vulnerable to market corrections because they are protected within the structures of closed systems, and those two bubbles are in: 1) health care, and 2) public education. Mercifully, the governor of Wisconsin has started a process that might force the necessary market correction in public education, but no savior has yet started the necessary market correction in health care.

Long term, the only workable solution is to treat health care and public education much differently than they have been treated in the past. My proposal is an attempt to show what that might look like in health care.

Basically, the national health care budget must be permanently fixed in some way, and I propose that be as a capped maximum that is a percentage of the national GDP. My proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: "The government shall provide all citizens with free and equal health care, including all tests, treatments, medications, therapies, procedures, surgeries, hospitalizations, and long-term care that: ...

4) are affordable within an overall government health care program budget that does not exceed 15% of the government’s GDP."

Simply, my proposal concludes that money does not grow on trees, and that a healthy economy cannot overspend in any one aspect of itself. My proposal does not stifle creativity in invention and innovation. Rather, it serves to encourage and reward that creativity on an ongoing basis. As is the case now, those who successfully invent and innovate will be financially rewarded more than others, but not as a consequence of anything that could be construed as robbery.

Steven A. Sylwester



Who is the "We" and the "Our" that you refer to? Are you the spokesperson for an established group? If so, please identify the group.

If you are writing in defense of your own opinion, then refer to yourself as "I."

Your "our this" and "our that" throughout your March 21st comment reveals a strange paranoia, which can only be described as a distrust of the U.S. government. In its masthead, The Heritage Foundation describes its Vision with theses words: "Building an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and civil society flourish." To build such an America as that, the very first ingredient and the main ingredient thereafter must be an abiding trust in the U.S. government — a trust that cannot and will not fail, despite all things — a trust that believes in the prevailing goodness of America, despite all things — a trust that does not fall prey to worry and fear, despite all things — a trust that expects the spiritual motivations of "faith, hope, and love" to be common among all Americans, despite all things — a trust that will "Love your neighbor as yourself," despite all things.

Bobbie, you care deeply, but you are caring about the wrong things.

You wrote: "Free market will keep our personal health and privacy within our rightful control. Free market generates their own revenue."

The reality is this: The world has changed, and the rulers in the new world are corporations — corporations that are not loyal to any nation, or even to their own customers. These corporations protect themselves with self-serving contracts, and they answer only to their own shareholders, i.e. those who seek to profit directly from the corporations' business practices. In no way whatsoever at all at any time do any of these corporations ever care about you, your "personal health," or your "privacy," except in whatever ways it is profitable and in their best interests to do so, or to the extent that they are compelled by law to do so, or to the extent that their in-house attorneys advise them to do so to avoid lawsuits. That is the truth. Best business practices are starkly objective regarding anything that has to do with either potential or actual profits, and that objectivity absolutely nixes anything that even remotely suggests a desire to care about the subjective needs of a customer — any customer, even including you.

Simply, your health insurance company does not care about your health, except to the extent that it can successfully avoid paying any medical claims you might make. Your health insurance company profits only if it takes in more money than it pays out, so its incentives are: 1) to take in more and more (raise premiums), and 2) to pay out less and less (deny claims). That is the simple arithmetic.

Bobbie, exactly where does the free market generate its own revenue? In the case of health insurance companies, revenue is generated through premiums. What does the word "premium" mean? According to Webster's Dictionary, the word "premium" means: "a sum over and above a regular price paid chiefly as an inducement or incentive, a sum in advance of or in addition to the nominal value of something, a high value or a value in excess of that normally or usually expected." In other words, because your health insurance company must make a profit to stay in business, you must pay insurance premiums at a rate that is higher than the cost of the medical care you might one day receive. That is the truth.

The fact is: U.S. citizens are paying more money for health care than what health care actually costs, because the U.S. health care system requires the financial support — on a profit-taking basis — of a whole layer of system bureaucracy that does absolutely nothing except siphon their own profit out of the system — and they determine their own profit on a most-for-least basis that they alone control without any government interference. It is a robbery that is akin to the doings of organized crime.

Help yourself. Read this:

Steven A. Sylwester

Morning Bell: Failure is Obama’s Strategy

by Conn Carroll

March 22, 2011 at 9:13 am


In the Major Leagues, getting into a pickle is the result of your own incompetence, and any hope of getting out of a pickle must depend on your opponent's incompetence. Such is base running in baseball. Such is politics. Such is life.

One can only hope that the pickle caused by your own incompetence is not formed with two outs in the bottom of the ninth in the seventh game of the World Series when your team is one run behind and your best hitter is coming up to bat. When there is no tomorrow is when utter defeat happens. Incompetence always hopes that today is just another day.

And so the United States finds itself in a pickle. Our looking to the Left and then quickly looking to the Right back-and-forth trying to determine which way to run is missing the key element of the baseball metaphor, which is that there is an opponent — there is the other team. The U.S. problem — its pickle — is not among teammates (the Leftist Democrats and the Rightist Republicans), it is with outside forces — an opponent — the other team.

Think that through. Ponder it deeply.

I am a 56-year-old lifelong registered Democrat who now self-identifies as a liberal Republican. I have never voted for a Republican for president in the past, but I cannot imagine ever voting for a Democrat for president in the future. I have not yet changed my party registration, because I am still hoping that a viable third party might emerge before the next national election.

The fight is in the middle. America's last hope is waiting to be found in the middle. Rather than looking to the Left and looking to the Right, we need to start looking Up and looking Down. We need to find the Universal Truth — the Middle Ground. And we need to recognize the players and the forces on "the other team."

What caused me to become a liberal Republican are the following:

1) My faith in God, and my belief that The Holy Bible tells a true story, including the story of Creation —
2) My steadfast opposition to "same-sex marriage" —
3) The welcome I have felt at the "Huck PAC" blog and at "The Foundry" blog, even when I have argued in favor of positions that are not generally thought of as conservative —
4) My surprise in discovering that I proudly identify myself as a Glenn Beck fan, and that I am willing to defend Beck against all comers, even though I do not always agree with him.

Why Glenn Beck? I was raised in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, and Luther's Small Catechism states:


Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

What does this mean? We should fear and love God that we may not deceitfully belie, betray, slander, nor defame our neighbor, but defend him, speak well of him, and put the best construction on everything.

Simply, I had heard and read so much disparaging vile criticism of Glenn Beck that I decided to find out about Beck for myself before I ever said one bad thing about him. So I watched his TV show to give him a break, and I kept watching his show, and I soon discovered that Beck is a decent and sincere man of goodwill who is trying very hard to make a positive difference in the world. When I reported this good news about Beck to my liberal Democratic friends, I was scorned — in some cases, with great hostility. Those scorning me admitted that they had never watched Beck for themselves, that their poor opinion of Beck was purely their parroting of the poor opinion stated by trusted others, and that they would neither quit their attacks on Beck nor bother to test my judgment of him by daring to watch Beck's TV show for an entire week to find out the truth for themselves.

The fact is: if I had ever said a bad word about Glenn Beck to anyone, I would be truly ashamed of myself now.

Two things about Glenn Beck are especially noteworthy: 1) he is searching for the Middle Ground, and 2) he is trying to identify the players and the forces on "the other team." And I must report that he is succeeding in both efforts.

On March 24, 2011, Paul Krugman wrote:
and I commented:
What both of us wrote is worth reading.

After pondering again the above and what I wrote in comment to Krugman, I offer the following plan to identify "the other team" that the U.S. is playing against:

1) Congressional Hearing: Subpoena George Soros and place him under oath.

Objective: Determine to everyone's satisfaction whether Soros is friend or foe in two distinct and separate realms: 1) in the realm of currency trading, especially regarding the U.S. dollar; and 2) in the realm of "New World Order" thinking.

2) Congressional Hearing: Subpoena Warren Buffett, Peter Lynch, Muriel Siebert, Steve Forbes, Ken Fisher, John Bogle, William O'Neil, William Gross, and Richard Fuld and place them under oath.

Objective: Determine to everyone's satisfaction what should be the rules in the U.S. stock markets regarding short selling, and whether the new uptick rule is working. See: Also, consider with the panel the ramifications to U.S. national security of worldwide electronic stock markets: specifically, whether economic warfare against the U.S. is happening now or could ever happen in the future without the knowledge of the U.S. government, and whether effective covert economic aggression against one nation by other nations (for example, against Israel by Arab nations) in the form of negative stock manipulations could be happening without anyone's awareness. Especially, consider whether "investing" is happening in an Internet Age in which computer programmed trading by large investment firms is the norm, or whether what should be investing is actually warring manipulations and convenient collusions that are exceedingly unfriendly and unfair to individual private investors.

3) Congressional Hearing: Subpoena leading economists, business scholars, and experts in all aspects of international trade agreements and treaties.

Objective: Determine to everyone's satisfaction whether it is time for the U.S. government to start treating all multinational corporations as sovereign nation equivalents, and therefore require them to sign and then honor legally binding trade agreements or treaties in order to sell their products and services within our borders. A significant part of such trade agreements or treaties would be guaranteed permanent full-time employment for American citizens in U.S.-based manufacturing, service, retail/wholesale, and/or distribution centers. Simply, if a multinational corporation is going to sell in America, then it must hire and permanently employ Americans in America according to acceptable standards.

4) Government Accounting Office Report: Single-Payer Universal Health Care models

Objective: Determine to everyone's satisfaction what the economic impact of several different single-payer universal health care models would be. Of course, I offer my own proposal for GAO review:

Regarding my Universal Health Care model: I am fully aware of the tendencies that government bureaucracies have to become stupid and wasteful. My proposal states: "There should be no profit motive in the U.S. health care delivery system, except that which motivates efficiencies — and efficiencies are crucial. The thinking of Dr. W. Edwards Deming needs to be put at the very center of the U.S. health care system in a way that becomes defining, and that then radiates the thinking throughout the whole system with a mighty transforming force." If you do not know who Dr. W. Edwards Deming is, read this:

For example, if it were mine to do, I would determine through a national inventory based on the previous year's computer record of actual health care insurance payouts what the exact percentage of existing natural funding is for medical care across the U.S. I would then separate out experimental care and new care from established proven care, and I would assign the oversight of experimental care and new care to the U.S. Senate while assigning oversight of established proven care to the U.S. House of Representatives. Doing so would guarantee an established percentage of funding for experimental care and new care without any risk of loss of funding, and the focus on that care would be more stable and long-term because of its Senate assignment.

Because the U.S. House has 435 representatives who each represent an equal number of citizens, I would divide the nation into five equally populated geographic areas, so the House "established proven care" medical costs oversight responsibility could be foremost exercised on a regional basis. Each area would consist of 87 House districts, with both rural and urban settings spread across several contiguous states. This arrangement would allow for experiments in standard practices within an area, and for efficiency competitions between the five different regional areas in ways that would encourage ongoing innovations and inventions in even the most mundane aspects of "established proven care."

Understand this: because each regional area would have the same population, each regional area would have the same allotted budget for "established proven care" medical costs. Therefore, game on! I believe it is possible to get better and better, i.e. more efficient, if there is an active ongoing encouragement to do so, even within the context of a U.S. government health care program.

The main problem with the U.S. health care system is that many of its secondary problems are either invisible or unknown, and the most significant cost drivers within the system come from forces outside of the system. Furthermore, the system justifies its exorbitant compensations with its exorbitant education costs, as if extreme wealth should naturally be the reward for extreme education, especially extremely expensive education. Basically, all of the system's plugs need to be pulled out and then tested individually to discover where the overloads are occurring.

In the end, the system must serve the needs of just two user groups: 1) the caregivers, and 2) the patients — and it must serve the needs of those two groups equally. I do not include the needs of insurers and of malpractice lawyers, because those two groups are parasites, and they must be entirely expelled from the system if the system ever hopes to achieve its full potential. Quite literally, the insurers and the malpractice lawyers are on "the other team."

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Rules for America:

1) Do not be stupid.

2) Know who your friends are and who your enemies are, and never mistake your friends for your enemies or your enemies for your friends; treat your friends like friends.

3) Learn to follow the advice given by Jesus to his disciples: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." (Matthew 10:16)

4) Always determine the weaknesses, failures, and unintended consequences of new technologies in an established system before those who have an intent for evil can achieve any advantage; think like a criminal, but never act like one.

5) Know this: The first person to actually listen to the other person usually wins the debate, because there is nothing so disarming and so endearing as the words "If I understand what you are saying, you mean ..." when the words that then follow turn out to be absolutely correct.

6) No matter what your religious beliefs might be, agree with the observation of Saint Paul when he wrote: "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Steven A. Sylwester



Understand this: I am opposed to Obamacare, because it only serves to further advantage the U.S. private health insurance industry.

The only workable answer to the U.S. health care problem involves nationalizing the U.S. private health insurance industry. The equivalent scenario is this: if gangrene is present on your foot and ankle, an amputation of your lower leg is necessary to save your life. America is now in the financial dire straits where the equivalent of an amputation is necessary. It must be done.

But take this to heart: What I am proposing is a massive system-wide efficiency upgrade. The only thing being "amputated" from the system is a whole layer of profit-taking bureaucracy that literally does not do anything productive or even necessary. Truly, the private health insurance industry does just one thing: it infringes. As an outsider, it successfully dictates to your physician what can and what cannot be done in your care, because it alone controls the purse strings.

Yes, the U.S. government can and will infringe somewhat in a Universal Health Care system, but at least the patients and the physicians will have a say in that as citizens. In the current system, the patients and the physicians really have no say, except as beggars in disputes in which the private health insurance companies serve themselves as both judge and jury.

Simply, the private health insurance companies control all of the small print. You can pick which "small print" package you want, but whichever package you buy is best thought of by you as a "grab bag" white elephant purchase, because no amount of thoughtful reading on your part will ever reliably tell you exactly all of what you just bought. Out of nowhere, private health insurance companies can — and do — deny coverage, and the usual reason behind all the baloney is simply this: they do not want to pay the bill, because paying the bill drains away their profit.

Buying health insurance in the U.S. health care system is in actuality placing a bet on your own destiny in a fixed game that is fixed against you. Why should anyone have to bet on whether they will ever get cancer? Furthermore, why should you ever be denied health care that you need because you placed hopeful bets when you should have placed despairing bets? What we are now doing is stupid. Worse than that: it is cruel and heartless.

Yes, we could do Universal Health Care in the wrong way. But it is possible to do it in the right way. If you can, improve on my starting point.

Bobbie, you did not offend me in your comments. In fact, I appreciate your comments very much, and I honor your sincerity. In any communication exchange, the question is always this: Am I who I am? Or am I who others perceive me to be? If I am the latter, then who is responsible for the misunderstanding: me or the others? Well, I cannot control the listening and the comprehending of the others, but I can control my own efforts to communicate. So, Bobbie, your comments were helpful, because they forced me to try again in making myself clear.

Steven A. Sylwester