Featured Quote

In 1913, Henry Ford wrote the following as the directors had been reaping the rewards of profits - "The wages we pay are too small in comparison with our profits. I think we should raise our minimum pay rate".

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Haley Barbour is a Sick Jerk

So, Haley Barbour has praised segregationists and now, to make up for it politically, he pardons suspends the life sentence of two (conveniently black) sisters who were obviously - by any standards - set up and wrongfully imprisoned.  (The people who admitted to the crime and now say the sisters were not there at all, got just a couple years and are free.)

Barbour has pardoned murderers who were known beyond any shadow of a doubt to be guilty.  Mostly those who killed women they supposedly loved.  I don't know how anyone can look at Barbour's record on this and not be completely enraged.

So, why Suspend the Sentence now?  Its costing Mississippi too much money to keep them locked up!
In a statement, Barbour said, "the Mississippi Department of Corrections believes the sisters no longer pose a threat to society. Their incarceration is no longer necessary for public safety or rehabilitation, and Jamie Scott's medical condition creates a substantial cost to the State of Mississippi."
The other sister MUST give one of her kidneys to her sick sister in order to be released.

Seriously, people!?!?! You want THIS sorry example of a human being to run for President??

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mississippi Embarrassment

Well, its time to get local myself.  Mississippi is the butt of many jokes - and our national representatives not only embody most of it, they encourage it.

Our Senators topped the charts on earmarks in the Republican opposed Omnibus Bill.

Roger Wicker introduced a bill thinly veiled as "states' rights" to allow them to screw constituents out of health care protections granted by the Health Insurance Reform bill.
"At the end of the day, (the other nullification laws) were largely an embarrassment for the state of Mississippi," said Roy Mitchell, executive director of the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program.
But to top it all off, Governor Haley Barbour, is an idiot. Oh, and he is re-writing history to fit his agenda, kind of like Fox MisInfotainment. (link to the actual study)

And for more embarrassment, their voting record from my Congress.org page :
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) voted Nay on Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010, which Passed
Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Mississippi) voted Yea on Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010, which Passed
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) voted Nay on Cloture Motion; DREAM Act, which Failed (Cloture Motion is a motion to close the debate and actually vote on a bill - so they blocked even a vote on the DREAM Act)
Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Mississippi) voted Nay on Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which Passed (Feeding starving kids take a back seat to making sure the top 2% don't pay their fair share of taxes for Mr. Harper.)
Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Mississippi) voted Nay on Emergency Unemployment Compensation Continuation Act, which Failed
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) voted Nay on Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010, which Passed
Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Mississippi) voted Nay on Rural Energy Savings Program Act, which Passed
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) voted Nay on Small Business Lending Fund Act of 2010, which Failed

So...  Mississippi representatives hate Small Business, don't think country folk need no 'lectricity, don't care if kids starve in our state because their mommy and daddy are unemployed (but looking), hate educated folk, immigrant or otherwise, and want to keep all gay people at home safe and out of harm's way (ie - out of the military).

We rank LAST (or close to it) in Education, Health, Public Transportation, First in Obesity, People in Poverty, Death Rate and children who attend religious services (probably praying for food - which Gregg Harper doesn't want them to have).

I hope that the 2011 elections can put us onto a better track.  I'd like to see more information about Bill Luckett, but not a whole lot of platform out yet.  Wondering if Reform Party or Green Party will field a candidate.

What is really disheartening is that in Mississippi, we are voting against our own best interest.  We are one of the poorest states in the Union and we vote in the party that promotes, supports and idolizes the richest 2%.  They are going to keep stepping on our faces - on our backs - to make their fiscal offerings to their icons - The Uber Rich - at the cost of our jobs, our money, our education.  I am not saying "Vote Democrat" - I am saying "Vote for your own best Interest" at the very least.  Republicans are like carpetbaggers - coming down, making their fortunes and carrying it back to the top.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Think, Act and Prosper Locally

I am stunned by the thoughts going through my head right now.  Is this an epiphany?  Is this guy, Chris Hedges, a prophet? (1 hour 22 minute video, yeah, get past the Michael Jackson analogy... watch it ALL - even the questions/comments)

I am at a point where I pretty much feel that there are two options.  One option is to purchase a large tract of land, build eco-friendly and self powered, self contained (monolithic dome) homes in an Intentional Community (or Co-housing) style - with a large central common home where all the cooking, dining, laundry and such would be done - and moving there, starting gardens and become a self-contained community.  The other option is to get into politics and try to make a change for the good of the Nation as a whole - or at least my home state.

Currently, I don't see a way to accumulate the fiscal stability necessary to achieve the first option with any alacrity.  Therefore, stepping into political activism is the most accessible solution. It is with that in mind that I am currently directing my thought processes.  What is the solution to the current atmosphere of our Nation's political structure?

The first step is to identify the problem.  My first response is that the two major parties have entrenched themselves into the system, preventing all others from participating, and have become so corrupted and out of touch with "We, The People" that their continued existence is the single biggest threat to our Democratic Republic.  Another, related, issue is the establishment of the Corporate control of our government - the Profit-first law-making lobby.

"The theory behind pumping this kind of liquidity into the market, is that the banks and the corporations will then, when the money runs out next year, put the liquidity into the market. Well, its very clear that they're doing what all good capitalists would do with our money, which is hanging on to it and we're screwed. That is an example of an illusion." - Chris Hedges

The solution to the above problem(s) is a mass exodus from the two-party system.  I suggested some quick and easy ways to put the two-party establishment on notice in "Where is the Outrage?"  Go now, no matter how you are going to vote, and change your party affiliation to Independent - or Reform Party or Green Party - Vote your conscience, but do not affiliate with either of the two major parties who are so entrenched.  Send the email I suggested, use congress.org to communicate with your representatives.  We need to put People before Profit again. (and I just found that book using my wording... awesome!)  So, yes, Buy Local, produce things for your local market, pay a little extra for USA made (not assembled) products from independent store owners.

Books by Chris Hedges :
Empire of Illusion
American Fascists
Death of the Liberal Class

( When he was talking about Socrates an idea he mentioned struck me - when you write something down, it freezes, it becomes a form of Orthodoxy.  Written things loose the fluidity of though and spoken word. )

And what if we don't do something?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Politics and Religion

I saw something today on Facebook that brought this topic about, so bear with me - its kinda short.  Some politicians and pundits seem to be constantly insinuating that only people who go to church and are Christians are good and only 'good Christians' can be ethical or moral.

As a Jeffersonian Constitutionalist and a member of a sizable subset (albeit still a minority) of voters, I am very interested in this topic.

I fully agree with the idea that our government, state and national both, should be held to high ethical standards and conduct themselves with politeness and observe all good manners.  However, I see no need to bring religion into the discussion of government. Socrates, Aristotle and Aesop - among many others -  were promoting and discussing ethics and morality long before any church or religion became involved.

I found some quotes from my main politician, TJ, helpful :

But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.  -Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

I inquire after no man's religion, and trouble none with mine; nor is it given us in this life to know whether yours or mine, our friends' or our foes', is exactly the right. - Thomas Jefferson, letter to Miles King, 1814

And, reluctantly, some books on how damaging religion can be in our politics :
Liars for Jesus
Fighting Words
Idiot America
Over the Cliff
Common Nonsense

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Roundup of Articles

Democrats are more favored than Republicans.

Watching Fox "News" makes you Stupid. (or at least very misinformed)

Republicans Oppose their own Earmarks!  Republicans are among the top earmark requesters!  All three Republicans from Mississippi are in the top 10 porkers... hmm.. its mostly the Mississippi Republicans...  figures.  More to be embarrassed about by those idiots.  Yeah, its mostly Democrats asking for earmarks in 2011.  Although, really, its not been a one sided thing in the past, as majority rules apply.  Very interesting to research.

Al Franken's hardest vote evah!

Fox News is a pissed off as everyone else about the 9/11 First Responders getting snubbed by congress - but they won't admit it was Republicans who blocked the aid bill. I suppose there were not enough Millionaires in the group for the Lame A$$ Republicans to support.

And some interesting news on the potential fate of the Filibuster!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Where is the Outrage?

I can't believe that there are not more people, more average, working people, who are totally pissed off right now.

A certain segment of the ultra rich are screwing the rest of us out of our hard earned money, screwing us out of what we deserve for our contributions to their wealth.  Corporations work endlessly to lower our wages, increase their profits and stock dividends and wiggle out of paying their fair share of taxes.  The Rich are enabled and coddled by our government - getting tax breaks and loopholes, tax shelters and give-aways.  Some are paying an effective tax of 17.7% while we pay an effective tax of 30% - they are not paying their fair share!  Some corporations pay Zero taxes.

There is nothing wrong with being rich - or even very, very rich.  Its the American Dream.  What is wrong, is stepping on people to get there and stay there.  What is wrong, is not contributing your fair share to fund our government - instead buying congressmen and law-makers to cut you deals and breaks.  What is wrong, is rewarding your CEO for cutting jobs and worker salaries to increase profits for shareholders. What is wrong, is creating schemes that ensure lower-income families will default on the loans you provide and get you even more profit and tax breaks.

Oh, some will say that we are at fault.  We grasped for the American Dream when it was not really within our reach.  They say we jumped too high - even when those same bankers and financial crooks were the ones dangling the carrot over our heads saying, "Come on, its a great deal."  After all, its their job to entice, to promote, to sell us the idea that we can achieve the Dream.  Its not their fault we fell for it!  After all, its immoral to allow a sucker to keep his money, right?

There has been a class war going on for years - and only the corporations knew about it.  Now, there is no reason for anyone to not know about this.

What can you do?  Change your voter status to Independent - or Green Party or Reform Party - just not Republican nor Democrat.  That will send a huge message : Cooperate for the Greater Good, not your political futures.(for info on How, see http://www.vote411.org/ - specifically the Registrar Info finder)

Send your supposed representatives an email with just one line : "You should listen to Us - vote Our Way.  - a Voter." (see mine - log in, click "Write your lawmakers" and uncheck the President, fill in your info.  You may be asked to choose a topic - I picked "Gov't Operations" - see my Congress.org Soapbox)

Just one source article - there are many more in the previous posts. http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/12/14-6

Wow!! Unbelievable

"Washington is here to serve the banks..." - Spencer Bachus, traitor who betrays We the People to the Banks and Corporations.

The Judge who ruled against the Health Insurance Mandate is a Republican stooge and part owner of a GOP consulting firm - talk about your conflict of interest.  He should be censured for even taking the case.  Not that I disagree with his ruling, but he should not have taken the case.  I still feel that states forcing someone to buy auto insurance is illegal - and it is certainly immoral.  Even more so, any government should never be able to force a citizen to choose which method to risk their life - such as states do when forcing people to buckle up based on a 60/40 chance that it will help or do no harm instead of being the deciding factor that kills you, which it sometimes does.  I would wager that wearing a seat belt saves a life about as often as it kills - the rest of the time it matters very little, either preventing a few bruises or cracking the collar bone.

The Tax Deal will hurt lower income citizens by eliminating the "Making work Pay" tax credit and replacing it with the "Payroll Tax Holiday" - which is a percentage cut, so the more you make, the more it benefits you.  For example, the "Making work Pay" credit gave me $400 extra over the year - the "Tax Holiday" will give me over $850.  MwP would give people making $10,000 the same $400.00, but the "Tax Holiday" will only give them, maybe $200 - you have to make $20,000 to get the $400.

See more REAL news on Democracy Now!

Warren Buffet slams tax disparity!  Last year, Buffett said, he was taxed at 17.7 percent on his taxable income of more than $46 million. His receptionist was taxed at about 30 percent. See!  and for those lucky enough to be able to watch Youtube... 

Adding another interesting item : Neither Plan works!
... and another... Tax Cuts Create Jobs? Prove it!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mandates! Health, Auto, Seat belt!!

Interesting developments!  A Judge in Virginia has ruled the Federal Mandate of Health Coverage unconstitutional. I find it bordering on hypocrisy that Virginia - a state that forces people to buy auto insurance or pay a fine - is the state that ruled a mandate to buy health insurance or face a fine unconstitutional.  On a side note, I am eager to see what challenges to auto insurance and seat belt laws can be brought from this.

It has been ruled that truly interstate insurance is a Federal Commerce matter.  Unless it is ruled that an insurance policy in Mississippi could not be honored by a hospital in Maryland - then the Federal government does, in fact, have jurisdiction.  So, would a Maryland hospital honor my Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi health insurance coverage?

Another argument - or something to think about - is that the Health Coverage mandate is on all people who can afford it, while auto insurance mandate is only applicable to those who choose to own and operate a motor vehicle - whether they can afford the premiums or not.  Sure, owning an automobile may be a choice in New York City - but in Jackson, Mississippi, unless you live near a bus route, you must have at least access to a car.  There is no real 'public transportation' in most of the country.

While it may not be a federal mandate, auto insurance and seat belt laws are coerced by the federal government.  If they manage to get this part overturned, then the fed will just use it's old tricks of funding requirements to meet the 'requirement' by tying funding to state mandates.

Still, I think all insurance is just government sponsored protection racket.  You pay for 'protection' for years, then, when you need it the most, well, it doesn't cover THAT or there was this error in your application or whatever - and it doesn't help you at all.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Filibuster! Against the Tax Deal

Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-VT - who started at 10:25am - is joined by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-LA in a Filibuster of the Tax Deal.  Listening to them for a while - they are absolutely right to do it!  Some people in the Congress realize what is going on in this nation and the root causes of it.  Politifact says at least one of his points is True.

If at all possible, I will find a transcript? Yes, a Transcript! and post it here. (or you can now watch it all! or listen)

Some points - and I must paraphrase.

Thirty years ago, the average family with one income earner had more disposable income than the average family with two incomes does today.

During the Bush years, the 400 something top income earners saw their income double, even as their tax rate was cut in half - effectively sitting at 16% now.   At the same time, the average worker's income effectively dropped.  Middle class Men, lost 11% of their income, women lost 4%.

During Bush years, 8 million citizens slipped from the middle class to below the poverty line.

We don't need tax cuts for billionaires! We need to create jobs for the middle class and rebuild this economy.

During the 8 years of Bush, we lost 600,000 private sector jobs.  There was a Net Gain of 1 million jobs - all in the government sector.

In Education - out of 30 countries, the United States ranked 25th in math and 21st in science.

170,000 students who graduate high school and want to go to college, can not afford it.  We are not investing in our future, but we want to give tax breaks to the already rich.

75% of the youth who apply for the armed services do not qualify because of low mental capacity, prior criminal activity or obesity. 

We couldn't get one Republican vote to give a $250.00 check to people making $14,000 a year on social security or disability - but they want us to give thousands of dollars in tax breaks to people who are already rich and don't need them.

Capital Gains tax would continue at 15% - so people who make their living off their investments would pay less taxes than Firemen, Teachers and Policemen.

Some links to Estate tax issue that the Senator raised :

No man should receive a dollar unless that dollar has been fairly earned. Every dollar received should represent a dollar's worth of service rendered – not gambling in stocks, but service rendered. The really big fortune, the swollen fortune, by the mere fact of its size acquires qualities which differentiate it in kind as well as in degree from what is possessed by men of relatively small means. Therefore, I believe in a graduated income tax on big fortunes, and in another tax which is far more easily collected and far more effective – a graduated inheritance tax on big fortunes, properly safeguarded against evasion and increasing rapidly in amount with the size of the estate.  – Theodore Roosevelt, speech at Osawatomie, Kansas, "The New Nationalism" (August 31, 1910)

The absence of effective State, and, especially, national, restraint upon unfair money-getting has tended to create a small class of enormously wealthy and economically powerful men, whose chief object is to hold and increase their power. The prime need is to change the conditions which enable these men to accumulate power which is not for the general welfare that they should hold or exercise. We grudge no man a fortune which represents his own power and sagacity, when exercised with entire regard to the welfare of his fellows. – Theodore Roosevelt, speech at Osawatomie, Kansas, "The New Nationalism" (August 31, 1910)

An oft-cited book he talked about was "Third World America" by Arianna Huffington.

Corporate America is already sitting on 2 Trillion dollars of cash on hand - I don't think that further tax breaks are going to make them create jobs.

An article demonstrating how this "Deal" was pretty one-sided and hurts low-income people while loading up the already rich. And an article covering the "Long Speech."

The Republicans are showing who they fight for - the top 2% and even more for the top .3% - the top one third of one percent!!

Links of Interest:
an article on the highlights - http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/12/14-6

And for a foot note, a bumper sticker : "Sarah Palin 2012 - the world is going to end then anyway!"

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Who owes What in Taxes

100% of the population of the United States owes a share of the cost of running the government that benefits them.

Assuming a national population of 310,877,994, with 110,425,577 taxpayers and just above $13.8 trillion in debt, each taxpayer owes $125,255. Yes, we have 200,452,417 (64%) people who either do not work or make so little that they don't qualify to pay any taxes.  This includes children, stay-at-home parents and 15,206,013 officially unemployed (4.8% of total population, not workforce) - a total of 26,186,689 really unemployed (23% of total population who may want to work, but can't find a job they qualify for).

If we stopped spending right now and every taxpayer paid their $125,255.00, we would be out of debt.  However, only 17% make even close to that per year. Only 18,772,348 out of 110,425,577 make over $118,200 per year.  18 1/2  out of 110.  Only the top 5% of income takers (5,521,279) could possibly pay that bill and have some leftover. 5 1/2 out of 110.

Census says we have 242,168,000 citizens that have an income.   Around 72,833 make less than $9,350.00 so don't have to file or pay taxes (that number actually makes less than $10k, so the few who make between $9,350 and $10k do have to file, but most likely don't pay taxes after exemptions - base of $6,200.00).

My question is, who owes what?  Is it fair to say every citizen owes equally despite how much they benefit (or don't) from living in the US?  Is it more fair to say every taxpayer owes according to how much they benefit personally from our economy?  Well, fair or not, you are not going to get blood from a turnip, as the saying goes.  Those who barely make ends meet are not going to be able to come up with 'their share' of the bill - or much of anything.  So, then, how to most ethically share the tax burden?

The progressive tax tables seem good - but there are so many ways that the wealthy can wiggle out of their share.  Nothing will be "fair" until the loopholes are closed - which will also allow full funding of the government.  Spending needs to be greatly reduced, it is true (look for a upcoming post on that topic!).

I may add more to this, but don't know... lol!

Sources :
http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/cpstables/032010/perinc/new11_000.htm ( I combined totals for M & F using Excel )

The Economy and related schools of thought

I couldn't comment on the CNN blog post, but I found some comments to be interesting :

"How do they feel about their fellow GOPers willing to back the wealthy giving them tax cuts that raise the deficit? "
They are ardently mindless adherents to the economic ideology that posits the following:
"If you give the extremely wealthy even more money, then at some point their cups runneth over and rain wealth down upon the masses. They have no desire to horde and consolidate and amass more and more wealth beyond a certain [point]. We haven't reached that point yet. Ergo, we need to keep giving them more and more of the country's wealth and assets until we do."
Yeah. My guess is they fervently believe that the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% will magically result in jobs and fix the economy, not to mention the deficit. After all, the extended version of the above insanity is that once you give the rich their the tax cuts that magically jobs, then more people are earning money and the government's tax revenue increases without having to raise taxes. It's like talking to people who believe in cartoon physics.
I corrected a hyper-typing spelling error in [italics].  The point is right on.  It does indeed seem as though the GOP and all those who blindly follow their economic thinking do believe that giving more money to the already rich will make jobs appear.  "Cartoon Economics" - I like the label for it!!
Cartoon Economics - the theory that wealthy people choose to hand out their money to people for no reason.
Orlando Patriot
How can you Democrats just not understand how an economy works? Have you EVER taken a simple college level Economics course? I guess not..... Let's simply state it in basic terms – if the cost of doing business goes up then the number of employees this business will hire goes down (refer to Marginal Revenue Product in your college Microeconomics book) and if the cost of doing business goes down then this same business will hire MORE workers. Secondly, if money is taken from the "wealthy" that will decrease Consumption (remember: GDP = C+I+G+NX) and Consumption is 70% of GDP. How will this occur? Because the Aggregate Demand curve will shift left (refer to your college level Macroeconomics textbook).
In other words: Anybody who thinks RAISING taxes on ANYBODY during the worst economic downturn since the early 70's [is a good idea] is simply a moron. You need to wake up and THINK about what you are saying. I don't know about you but I have NEVER been hired by a poor person!! I am NOT wealthy and this idea of "taxing the rich" would not directly affect me but quickly it will indirectly [affect] me when unemployment RISES because of the added cost of business. And what does that cause? Democrats wanting to extend unemployment insurance so a person does not HAVE to work for almost 3 years?!?! Remember: Economics is not the study of what people SHOULD do but rather what the[y] ACTUALLY do!! Raising taxes on ANYBODY in an economic downturn is the most stupid thing to do and EVERY Economics textbook will tell you the same thing!! (Refer to AS/AD chapter in Macroeconomics and/or Labor in any Microeconomic textbook). 
I added the [bold] to help Orlando be a bit more comprehensible.  Still, its seems that he has a "Cartoon Economics" tainted perception of MRPL (also see this - which shows real wages declined from 1976 to 1996).  Job loss will only occur if the profit from having the productivity of that worker drops below (or too close to) the cost of having that worker.  Also, his analysis of Aggregate Demand is flawed as well. He is assuming that a fractional drop in income will cause 2% of the population to suddenly stop purchasing products - and that would tank the GDP.

I fail to see how Orlando and others can believe that 2% of the population can cause a serious drop in consumption.  Raising taxes slightly on that 2% may cause a drop in their savings, but it will not likely touch their spending habits.  A more likely scenario that would affect GDP is 98% of the population having decreased purchasing power, therefore spending less.  That scenario is playing out right now.

"I have never been hired by a poor person" - he says.  I've been hired by plenty of people who fall below the $250,000 per year taxable income level and many more that fall well below the $1 million mark.  I have even been hired by people living below the poverty level.  Why?  There was a demand for my services.  Demand is the only thing that can create a job.  If there is not a need to be filled, there will be no job created. If there is a need, the "cost of doing business" becomes entirely irrelevant and that need will be met.

Just a side note here.  I know that an income "Tax Cut" is allowing people to keep more of what they earn, so it not technically 'giving' them money.  However, given that all citizens have a civic responsibility to share in the funding of our government, allowing someone to evade a bigger share of that responsibility is in effect giving back that portion of their tax duty to them.

Giving money back to people who put it directly into savings - which is what "the rich" do and it is partly responsible for their remaining 'the rich' - will never, ever, create a single job.  Jobs are created when the 98% of people have something they want and are willing to give their money to someone else to provide that thing for them.  The more people willing to spend money - and who have the money to spend - the more jobs are created to meet the demand.  The wealth level of the person supplying the production is totally irrelevant.

When working Citizens see smaller paychecks, that is when jobs are lost due to dropping demand.  "The Wealthy" have money and have not been hurt much by this recession.  They recovered more quickly, businesses have cash on hand - but, contrary to Orlando and his cohorts in wealth worship, no jobs are being created.  Bigger paychecks and bonuses to CEOs equal job losses.... or job cuts equal bigger paychecks and bonuses to CEOs.  Bigger paychecks to more workers equals more buying power, which equals more demand, which equals more jobs created.

2% having more buying power equals 2% more demand - which won't create anything.  98% having more buying power - now that will create some demand!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Loosing Hope

Hope! Change! Transparency! Yes, we Can! and Yes, We did!!  That is what I voted for - as much as I voted against "My Friends" McCain and Scary Sarah.

The latest "deal" - more accurately yet another cave in - has erased all I had left for Obama.  I'm all out of, "he's got a strategy..." and any other excuses.  I mean, really, if he is not willing to fight for us, then what use is he?  Yeah, he has accomplished some pretty good things - health care reform, pulling the economy out of a nose dive and into recovery.  But he is not fighting to maintain those accomplishments.  He is not fighting the lies from the Right - he is caving in to everything.

The Republicans are fighting to get all the breaks, benefits and bonuses for the top .10% (tenth of a percent) of our Citizens - while kicking 98% of us in the teeth - and they are winning.  Who has the guts and fortitude to stand up for the 98% of the Citizens??

Maybe I am just not hearing it or reading it.  The Republicans say that the rich create jobs - a lie.  They say the tax rates going back up will hurt small businesses - a lie.  They say they want to cut the deficit - obviously a lie.  So far, we, as a nation, are still coddling the rich and kicking the middle class in the stomach.

Don't get me wrong - personally I am happy that I would be getting a bit more back on my tax return this year and that I would be getting a bit more in my paycheck thanks to the drop in social security tax rate packaged in the deal.  But I'd prefer to not get any of that, to have my tax rate go back up to Clinton-era tax rates, than to have this treachery of a deal.

I suppose that I will have to console myself with the idea that this deal will make the heads of all Tea Party people explode in anger - $1 trillion dollars of un-paid for tax cuts hyper-inflating the deficit....  wait, no... all they care about is paying less taxes and to heck with the deficit.  Oh, well...

Somewhere, somehow, I am still clinging to hope.  Maybe he has a big gun coming up!  Maybe, just maybe, my expectations were too high. Maybe this deal was the best we could get.  Maybe he is playing to win and we just can't see his cards.  But it sure would have made me feel better if there was at least some show of a political fight for what would have been best for the country as a whole.  Still...  he is probably doing what is really best and possible.  He is the kind of President that we need - now we just need the kind of Congress that compliments him.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Rich get Richer....

We have a lot of this phrase going around - "The Rich get richer and... " with lots of different endings.

the Poor Poorer ; the Young Go Into Deep Debt ; you know the rest ; the rest get less ; As The Income Inequality Gap Explodes and a bonus article of How the rich get richer.

For each dollar earned by the average worker, the average CEO earns $475...  nobody 'earns' that.  Its a give-away, handouts by the rich to the already rich.

We have to get back to a more sustainable economic system.  Its not an matter of 'envy' on my part that others who supposedly worked harder than me (false!) have gotten ahead.  It is a matter of clearly unsustainable practices that are leading - once again - to a total economic collapse.  The "free market" has failed - only because the corrupt have taken control of it.

The complete and utter idiots that claim this as 'sour grapes' and 'entitlement thinking' are either part of the elite power schemes or mentally enslaved by them.  If anything, the obscene amounts of income handed out to managers and CEOs are the result of 'entitlement' thinking.  Its the whip-cracker taking credit for the work of the slaves.  I am entitled to the fruits of my labor and it is a travesty of justice for anyone else to feel entitled to a larger share of my productivity than I am.  I am going to make that line of thinking another post entirely... stay tuned.

Again I will pitch the need for an Ethical Economic structure.  We need to pay a fair wage for a fair amount of work.  I begrudge no one a reasonable profit for their ideas, their work and efforts or their investment.  When one is reaping an outrageous profit, then they must seriously look at the ethical points of their business structure.  Our problem stems from the fact that people in positions of power in business are rarely ethical.  Even more, people in positions of political power are also rarely ethical.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Kick out the Millionaires

Millionaires count as 5% of the population of the United States.  They make up about 50% of the members of congress.  The disparity becomes even sharper if you count only real people as citizen millionaires - it goes down to 1%.  Why does congress want tax cuts for the rich so bad?  Because they are the rich.  Nobody is really fighting for letting the top $250,000 + rates go back up.

Just want to point out that its not a rich vs. middle tax idea here.  The income tax is based on tiers of income.  So, the 'tax cuts' apply by income tier.  It also changes according to filing status... so...
To let the cuts expire for those making over $200,000 per year, would really create a new entry on the table there. $171,850 to $200,000 and then $200,001 to $373,650.  Effectively, everyone still benefits from the same low rates on income under $200,000.  For example, you make $260,000 per year.  All income up to $200,000 remains taxed the same - 10% of the first $8,375 ; 15% of the amount between $8,375 and $34,000 ($25,625) and so on till you get up to $200,000.  I do wonder if they would keep the table at $171,850 to $200,000 - a mere $28,150 taxed at 33% and then from $200,000 to $373,650 taxed at the old 36% rate up to $373,650 or would they raise the lower 28% limit up from $171,850 to $200,000...
Either way, the rich still keep most of the tax cuts - just not the rates on the highest income levels.
The President wants it to look like (first % is current, second is proposed) :
So there would be an additional tax cut in there between $172,800 and $192,000!

Back to Congress! The 2010 salary for the rank and file congress was $174,000 per year.  The median income for the average Citizen Household was $52,029 (2008).  Why do we pay our "representatives" over triple (3.345x) what our national median income is?  They should make only what the median - the average - citizen makes.

I propose an Initiative - in the states that support it - to only allow congressional representatives to draw salary equal to the median income of the citizens.  I'd like to see this for States and for the National "representatives" as well.  The question is, with the corruption prevalent in government, how can we manage that?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Media and Republican Lies

Jobs are not being created!  Millionaires and billionaires have the low tax rate right now and they are NOT doing a DANG thing to create jobs!  What makes the morons think that if they extend their tax cuts (at a cost of adding $700 billion to the deficit they claim they want to reduce) that the millionaires will suddenly start creating jobs?  Besides, they will get the same tax cut as everyone else - a cut on the first $250,000 of earnings!

Companies have millions in cash on hand and are just sitting on it!  Why? Because the middle class is under attack and we are shelling up!  We are not spending on stuff - therefore no demand (read that link!), therefore no job creation.  Its NOT millionaires and billionaires who create jobs.  It is We, The People, who create jobs - the middle class who purchase products and services.  We create the demand that requires those jobs to be created.

Another question on this topic is why are the media outlets not pointing this absolute fact out?  How can they ignore the stupidity of the idea that the rich create jobs?  They are only, what 2% of the population?  2% can not create the demand for product that creates jobs!! 10% couldn't drive demand!

Ever since the advent of "Supply Side" economics - also known as "Voodoo" economics - the middle class has been under attack and stagnating or declining.  You can "Supply" all you want - but if the middle class - the "Demand" side - has been drained dry, all purchasing power drained out by high cost of living, outrageous interest rates and predatory lending practices, then you are not going to sell much of anything.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Listening to the Public?

Lets just pick a small thing here.  The Bush Tax Cuts - which Bush and cronies designed to expire.  The Republicans say they are listening to their constituents and want to extend the tax cuts for everybody.

However, that is not what their constituents want.  A few polls show that roughly 48% of Citizens want the tax cuts extended only for those making $250,000 or less.  37% want the rich to partake in the extension.  A bold 14% want to end the tax cuts for everyone - those are the people who are serious about bringing down the deficit.  And to round things out, 2% surveyed had no opinion.  So, at total of 62% of 'constituents' do not want tax cuts extended to the rich.

When these FACTS are evaluated - how can the republicans claim to be listening to the voters? How can they say with a straight face that they want to reduce the deficit?

Here are my calculations on the polls conducted :

And a little footnote article to read - Let's not do the crazy thing...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Realizing the Promise of Democracy

Today, we have allowed tyrants to usurp our democracy.  This is a Fact.  Corporations have moved into the forefront and are poised to seize power out of the hands of the People.  These Artificial Entities should not have the same rights as natural people.

You know, I was looking for movies where "corporations have taken over" - but most I found were Factual Documentaries!!  I was looking for movies like Robocop, Max Headroom, Total Recall and stuff where in the 'near future' corporations have taken over control of the country and everything is the worse off for it.  Yet, what I got were movies like The Corporation (and a sermon, based on the book, that is well worth a read and a few thoughts) and Flow and others.  Reality based movies are more frightening than fiction!  At least in the Fiction movies, there is a happy ending or a victory for the heroes.  What we see in reality is a long, hard fight ahead of us - or eventual enslavement.

Thomas Jefferson spoke against the rise of corporations ("Rise of the Machines"?) often.  The idea of Corporate Personhood - our very own Frankenstein's Monster - is a bad one that needs to be put down.

I believe that the first step to protecting the promise of Democracy - the very foundation of our Democratic Republic that is the United States of America - is the work being undertaken by the Move to Amend group.  The goal is to amend the Constitution to forever define corporations as created legal entities, not Citizens.  This will protect the rights of Citizens - We, the People - to govern ourselves, protecting us from our own soulless creations. (Yes, "I, Robot" is running through my head!)  Maybe, if we had businessmen the likes of Henry Ford, it would not be such a bad thing.  But, sadly, we do not have such noble and fair-minded individuals.

Okay - some may say its only because he supported my idea of paying your workers enough to buy the products they help produce... but I only read about that for writing this piece!
When Ford started the 40-hour work week and a minimum wage, he was criticized by other industrialists and by Wall Street. He proved, however, that paying people more would enable Ford workers to afford the cars they were producing and be good for the economy. Ford explained the change in part of the "Wages" chapter of My Life and Work. He labeled the increased compensation as profit-sharing rather than wages.
 and another quote I found browsing around :
In 1913, Ford wrote the following as the directors had been reaping the rewards of profits - "The wages we pay are too small in comparison with our profits. I think we should raise our minimum pay rate".
 Alas, we now have offspring of the Dodge brothers - who sued Ford when he tried to profit-share with his workers (as well as shareholders) too much.  They then had the nerve to start up a competitor!  ( I will never buy a Dodge now. )  So, Move to Amend is something that is fundamentally necessary to protect our Democracy!

Another item that I believe would further promote our Democratic process - though I strongly suspect corporations would attempt to take over and sway opinions in the process - is the National Initiative for Democracy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Well, Obama was Right

Yeah, it didn't happen over night and we still have a long way to go, but we are back on track with the economy.  Unfortunately, we now have the people who steered us into this mess back in some power, so, we'll see how bad they set us back in the next two years.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Health Care

I think I've pretty much decided that For Profit health care is the source of our health care woes.
Think about it - the best interest of the hospital and doctors is to keep you sick, not heal you.  The Insurance companies seek to charge us more, pay the doctors less and pay out as little as possible. Pharmaceutical companies also need more repeat business - so why make something that ends the demand for the product??
It is a fact - no matter how many people claim otherwise - that the United States Health Care is one of the worst of all the Developed Nations.  In 2000, We were number 37.  Thirty Seven!!  We are not getting our money's worth!  I don't think we can realistically blame the low ranking on traffic accidents...
I believe the reason we are first in costs, last in effectiveness in Health Care is that our health providers have a vested interest in keeping us sick.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Create Jobs!! Where are the Jobs??

How is a Job created?

First, there has to be a product or service.  Second, there has to be a demand - a need - for that product or service.  Third, there has to be someone willing to pay to fill that need.

So, as companies sit on record profits and large sums of cash on hand, there is little to no extra demand to require adding jobs.  Why?

The way I see it, the Middle Class has been lured - or walked willingly - into a fiscal trap.  We have mostly acquired cars, houses and credit cards - all with significant debt payments.  This debt payment ratio may be a fairly high part of our monthly expenditures.  With expenses remaining high while salary and take-home pay fall slightly, we have reached a point of really living paycheck to paycheck.  So, we are cutting back on acquiring 'stuff.'  We still need the essentials, but we are cutting back on those too.  "Conserve" is the new motto and our economy - based on "Consume" - is suffering for it.  So, while those companies sit on cash reserves, we don't have the cash to consume any more of their product, so there is no more demand.

To increase demand, we, the workers will have to be paid more.  Either that or Gas/Oil, Energy and Food will have to reduce prices to see an increase in demand.  Either way, corporate profit margins will have to fall and the culture of paper profits will have to go away.  Right now, our economy is driven by Investors putting their money in the right earning entity.  We will need to get back to the times where Hard Work making things, contributing to the good of society and being self sufficient drive the economy - where we invest in living our lives, not some corporate fiscal creation.  We need to get away from our most profitable businesses being Insurance, Credit Card and Financial companies.  The United States are built on Industry - creating things, providing services - not moving money from one balance sheet to another.

My solution would be to have every company, where the CEO makes more than 50 times what the average worker earns, lower CEO pay and give every employee a raise to bring that gap back down to 50 or under.  More people with more money = higher demand for everything = more jobs = even more people with more money = even more demand = more jobs.  The trick is to know when that levels off and be able to adjust in order to maintain.

(PS: Dude from Harvard Business Review agrees with me! Time for a new $5 day!)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Personal vs Social Responsibility

I wrote this for a reply to a forum conversation (which is irrelevant for this post, so not linking to it).

Currently (well, as of 2007), we, the bottom 80% hold about 7% of the wealth, but pay 40% of the taxes.  The top 10% pay 60% of the taxes, but control 90% of the wealth.
This is roughly the same situation as just before the Great Depression.  History repeats itself.
I am not for socialism, but there does need to be responsibility in wealth management.  Right now, the money is all going up - but very little coming back into the economy. The Rich save and invest in paper funds.  They don't spend.  Therefore, money accumulates at the top till it topples - an endless cycle of growth and crash.
We have government to try to help protect us from the Irresponsible actions of others - both the very poor on welfare and the very rich who contribute nothing to society are irresponsible.  We, the Middle, need to solve the problem and balance our society and economy.
 This got me thinking about Personal Responsibility versus Social Responsibility.  Right now, I don't think you can separate the two.  I am thinking about wealth management right now.  Lets ignore the rich who inherit and never actually made a contribution to society to begin with.  Instead, lets focus on the guy who started at the bottom.

Our guy starts with nothing.  He works long hours, hard days and starts a business.  He saves his money, invests wisely and grows his fortune.  His fiscal habits make for a sizable wealth.  At what point does he need to stop the aggressive saving and investing and start returning more of his money to the society that created the environment for him to succeed?  I do believe that it is vital to return, to give thanks and appreciation.

Its my old "Farmer tends the soil for his crops to grow" scenario.  There comes a time that all the good habits of saving and investing turns into bad habits of hording.  Is this, possibly, what we are facing now?

I know the Rich should put their savings back into the economy.  Any serious analysis of the mathematical aspects of savings vs spending practices will clearly display the unsustainable reality of our current system.  I do not believe Charity is the answer though.  We need something to help the Middle.  Those of us who are working, making ends meet, but not much else.  Society needs us, the middle 80%, to have some spare change.  We need, along with a little stimulus money, some wealth management classes.  Some counseling, education, therapy - something to get us away from the spend, spend, spend mentality and teach us to put back some savings.  We need some good "Buy U.S. Made" indoctrination.  Some "do you really need a 64 inch tv in your bathroom?" kind of therapy.  We are sick with an overabundance of consumerism and need to get it back down to a reasonable level.

Heck, we need to get EVERYTHING back down to a reasonable level - the Deficit, CEO Salaries as compared to average worker pay, consumerism, political rhetoric, entitlement programs.  Well, maybe some things need to get back up to a reasonable level - average income, savings, product quality, employment rates, ethical standards.

... enough rambling.  So, on a side note - the U.S. Health system actually, truly, honestly, SUCKS!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"No Earmarks!"

"We must reduce the deficit! No Earmarks!" - a Republican liar (isn't that redundant?).

Banning Earmarks will do NOTHING.  For one thing, it only makes up 1% of the budget.  Take this from the last link "Earmarks are used to allocate a small fraction of already approved spending amounts."  See that?  "Already Approved Spending."  Its not like earmarks are new spending.

Okay, so a bill comes to the floor.  It is $100 million for infrastructure spending.  A Senator from Kentucky says that, sure, he will support the bill, but only if this one project in Kentucky - in his district - gets $516,000 of that $100 million.  Another Senator says she will support it, if this bridge building project in her state gets $300,000.  The whole bill cost is still $100 million - just some of that money is earmarked for those two projects.

But, uninformed... actually, misinformed people will see the Republican move as being heroic and monumental.  "Keep 'em Stupid, Keep 'em Republican!"

Why am I all against Republicans?

While I am not a Democrat, the Republican Agenda is a greater detriment to the Nation - period.

Almost their entire platform is based on outright lies and misinformation.

Check out the links to references in The Plum Line article.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

If you can manage to get through this....

10 Scariest Republicans headed to Congress

I was afraid before... but now I am terrified that these hate-filled psychopaths will take our constitution and wipe their sorry butts with it before flushing this Nation down the toilet.

The Statue of Liberty has a poem by Emma Lazarus on a tablet in it's pedestal which has been embraced by our Nation for decades :

"Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "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!"
I hold that Illegal Immigration is just that, Illegal.  Find them, give them counseling on legal immigration, throw them out and let them start over, come back the right and legal way.  But the blind hatred espoused by the people in that list and those like them makes me very nervous.  They target for persecution anyone that appears as though they might not have been born here.

They shout for Liberty, Freedom and the Glory of our Nation - all the while embracing ideas that have lead to oppression, racial cleansing, genocide even.  They ask government to leave them alone!  "Oh, and by the way, government, while you are leaving us alone, make sure anyone else can never legally do the things we disagree with, like gay people getting married or serving in the military or women choosing to have an abortion for any reason."

Their attitudes are why we have bullying against LBGT kids - and bullying in general.

None of these things that they seem so proud to believe can EVER be acceptable in the United States of America that our Founding Fathers established.

On a side note... watch this... 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Airport Insanity

Okay, so discarding a bit of liberty for the illusion of safety - Airport Scanners.

Seriously, take a look at the image there...  enlarge it... you can see who trims the hedges and who is hanging low and to the left...

That is waaay to much to reveal in a crowd.  Even if the person seeing the images is in another room and can't see the actual person and even if the images are not saved any where - yeah, right - there is no way I am going to accept the option of either having someone see THAT or Grope me Down.  That is way too invasive.  Not to mention way too much opportunity for misuse and abuse of the images.

The United States Obsession with Other People's Bedrooms

I must say, WHAT THE FRIKK?
"An equal application of law to every condition of man is fundamental." --Thomas Jefferson to George Hay, 1807. ME 11:341

"The most sacred of the duties of a government [is] to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens." --Thomas Jefferson: Note in Destutt de Tracy, "Political Economy," 1816. ME 14:465
 "Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law,' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual." --Thomas Jefferson to Isaac H. Tiffany, 1819.
The United States has become totally obsessed with outlawing what some people choose to do in the privacy of their own homes.  Contrary to the will of our Founding Fathers (as shown above), we have passed laws and enshrined practices that infringe on the equal rights of others around us.  One group that has been disproportionately affected - or targeted - by this unconstitutional attack are homosexuals.

It completely baffles me how many people imagine that in order to secure their own liberty, someone else's liberty must be restricted.  That reasoning is in direct opposition to the Foundation of our Nation.

Marriage is a secular institution in our country, because in order to legally be acknowledged by our government, religion can not, legally, play a part in it.  Yet, gay couples are barred from entering into this binding agreement solely on the basis of religious objection.  I claim solely on the basis of religious objection, because there is no logical, reasoning objection that can withstand any scrutiny.  I firmly believe (and herein should lay humor) that gay people have the same rights to pay higher taxes, have someone fiscally interested in their demise and be prohibited from enjoyable promiscuous activity as any other coupling of free people.  If having Marty and Bert marry would diminish, in any way, your marriage, then you don't have much of anything to begin with.

I don't have a lot of the same perceptions of military service as many people do.  Some seem to enshrine anyone who has enlisted as some sort of automatic hero - regardless of their personality and habits.  I hold that assigning the label of hero to anyone simply because of their occupation is demeaning to true heroes within that occupational field.  I believe anyone should have the opportunity to serve their country.  There have been gay people in every military throughout history.  Some have been great leaders and extraordinary heroes of their time.  What opportunities at excellence are our 'leaders' denying our country by this modern and misguided exclusion?  I mean, were the armies of Rome demoralized and ineffective?  I firmly believe (again, humor to follow) that gay citizens should  have the same right to endure grueling, mind-and-spirit-breaking training, travel to foreign lands where everyone hates them and have an equal opportunity to get shot or blown up for their country.

I truly believe that we as a Nation have yet to fully realize the potential laid out in our constitution - and hope to be around when we finally achieve it.  I will do my small part to attempt to move us a little closer to that potential.