Posted on: December 12, 2008 2:12 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2008 2:15 pm
“What happened to your arm?” “I, ah, fell against the dresser. It’s no big deal.” “Hey, I’m your friend, don’t give me that. Did he do that to you? Was he drinking again?” “You just don’t understand. He works hard but never gets ahead and I put demands on him and he just snaps sometimes. That’s just his way.” Conversations like this happen everyday with regards to many different forms of abuse, be it alcoholism, domestic violence against a spouse or child, or any other sad situation where a person is abused. We have all been educated to look for signs of abuse and, hopefully, to report what we see to the authorities so that abuse can be stopped. Medical professionals are now trained to look for signs of abuse. Teachers and others are also on the look out for forms of abuse and neglect. By this time we are all paying attention or at least we should be. That said I heard many discussions this week in the media where the punch line in each story was “that is just the way it is, the Chicago way.” Now this is different from physical or mental abuse of people since it is only politics. Or is it? None of us can ignore physical or mental abuse when we come face to face with it. But here we are using the same logic a victim of physical abuse uses to defend their tormentor. That is just their way = that is the Chicago way. Farfetched? I don’t think so. Our politicians are hired (elected) to do a job on our behalf. When they abuse their power for personal gain we are being hurt by special interests or even criminal intent. If we choose to ignore it, to wash it away with a simple that’s just the way it is. Then we are contributing to the problem. We are enabling them to continue their abusive behavior. We are all so very cynical about politicians and their purported honesty. We all know at least one joke where that is the punch line. Yet we continue to fall for their promises and elect their selfish interests to represent us all. We are all victims, victims of an abusive relationship where we hold the power to stop it but are either unwilling or afraid to act. Americans – please stop enabling these abusive politicians or you will continue to play the part of victim. When the Constitution was framed the founding fathers never dreamed anyone would want to serve multiple terms in any office because it took time away from the farm or their business. They used words like civic and duty to describe the roles of office holders not bureaucrat or politician. It falls to the voter to invoke term limits on these life long politicians. But we don’t. We tolerate it. We re-elect them. We build statues and name streets for them. We encourage them to abuse us more. We are all victims. The Chicago way illustrates it for us.
Posted on: November 21, 2008 4:39 pm
Don't do it Big 3 automakers. Don't you dare beg Pelosi and her minions for your survival. The demos told the CEO's of the Big 3 to go home and come back with a plan since the democrats didn't have enough votes nor support from their constituents to vote for the bailout. So the question is will they come back with their hats in hand and agree to the demands of the Democrats. The demands that they make environmentally friendly cars or else no money. The demands that they restrict their pay as executives to something much smaller. Demands from lawyers not industrialists mind you.
This is the same government that has hamstrung the American auto industry with CAFE standards (corporate average fuel economy) and environmental standards, while refusing to restrict tort lawsuits against them nor support management of these companies when they go up against the Democrat's chief blue collar donators, the UAW. Those labor contracts amount to a $1300+ competitive disadvantage to produce cars in America. Don't get me wrong, environment, safety, et al, are givens in the industry, but foreign makers are not subject to CAFE.
Look here folks, the Big 3 and their supply base generates $125 billion annual tax revenue. If the Big 3 fails, that money disappears. The knee jerk answer is fine, go ahead and go out of business, but hold on, we are talking about millions of workers becoming unemployed, dropping out of the economy. Is this the final domino that plunges our economy into the dark ages?
So back to the CEOs. What plan should they bring back to Congress?
I say declare bankrupcy, destroy our economy, and crush the labor power base in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, etc...
Wait a minute.....I could be wrong. Thoughts?
Welcome to power Democrats, this is yours to solve.
Posted on: November 15, 2008 10:28 am
Edited on: November 16, 2008 9:39 am
Her red dress was cut low revealing her ample breasts. They were perfect and she was so sultry in comparison to the other Pelosi-esque women in the room. Every eye was upon her and she knew it. Even savored it. She was fresh from Paris and her gown was from the finest couture on the Champs Elysses. It had been custom cut to reveal her finest assets and she tingled the first time she put it on. The silk slid enchantingly into place across her shoulders and torso. Caressing her delicate skin as it fell to just above her knee. She was excited and frightened at the prospects that may come that night. She knew she would be impossible to miss and would attract the attention of every suitor in the ball room.
She was surprised to receive her invitation to the ball. She did not know her hosts personally, only in name and reputation. On a whim she decided to go and treat herself to the pleasures of being a desirable woman. So she treated herself to a new dress, lingerie, and shoes. A new clutch, a makeover....she was ready.
The eyes of everyone turned to her when she walked in unescorted. The gentlemen failed to hide their delight and the ladies hissed under their breath. The room was electric and a pang of regret twisted in her stomach. Now she wasn't sure she wanted the focus of hundreds of pairs of eyes.
A waiter glided by to the sound of the string quartet with champagne, yielding a flute with a flirting smile. She could see the sharks positioning themselves for their passes, ever closer they circled.
The first gentleman to introduce himself was Congressman George Miller from California. He was a charming man though considerably older than her. She indulged him as a harmless gentleman trying to rekindle his youth by flirting with a younger woman. He exuded power and he made no attempt to hide it.
A second suitor inserted himself into the conversation. He introduced himself as Jim McDermott also a Congressman but from Seattle. The two gentlemen knew each other and exchanged a playful nod.
She was swept away by their charm as they talked and danced away the evening. They both offered to escort her home in their limosines but then suggested they go for more drinks with a smaller group of friends from the ball. She was having so much fun she decided to enjoy the evening and agreed. Both Congressmen joined her in the car and off they went.
She wasn't sure which one kissed her first but it was passionate and soft. And she felt another pair of hands caress her legs. The passion increased and the two men began to ravage the beautiful woman. She awoke the next morning to find her beautiful clothes were torn, her hair and makeup were ruined and the conquerors were gone. She felt like so many things had happened and that something had been stolen from her. She was bewildered and began to cry.
No this is not an excerpt from a tawdry romance novel. Sorry boys, back to half mast.
My last blog entry was about a lady named Teresa Ghilarducci from New York's New School for Social Research who suggested the 401K plan should be scrapped. More on that subject appeared in the WSJ yesterday that I thought required sharing with you all.
The Congressmen above are real and the lady in the red dress is your 401K. Rep. Miller, D-California, chairs the House Education and Labor Committee. While Rep. McDermott, D-Washington, chairs a House Ways and Means subcommittee on income security and family support.
"Before election day the congressmen began to target the $3 trillion in the 401(k) accounts held by 60% of Americans. Mr. Miller called the system an inadequate vehicle that has not been terribly successful in encouraging retirement savings. He wants a whole sale re-examination of the pensions."
"The Chairman has also signalled greater ambitions. At a hearing last month, Mr. Miller put the 401(k) into play. Under the current system, employers match employee contributions that aren't taxed until redeemed, an indirect subsidy worth $80 billion today. 'We have to start to think about in Congress...whether or not we want to continue to invest that $80,000,000,000 for a policy that is not generating what we now say it should.' Mr. Miller said, ' For a taxpayer investment of this size, we must ensure that the structure of 401(k)s adequately potects the nesteggs of particpating workers.' "
His committee listened to Ms. Ghilarducci's ultra left social policy discussion to scrap the 401(k) and let the government mind our money for us. Yes folks it happened.
"The main liberal objection to the 401(k) seems to be that they let the average American control their own investment decisions for retirement. As Shlomo Benartzi, a professor at UCLA's Anderson Business School, told Mr. Miller's committee, "Individuals have a tendency to buy at the peak, and then panic when the markets drop and sell at the bottom." Better to have the government do it instead."
For those of you reading this thinking, yeah, the government would give us a safe return, well Social Security earns between 1 and 2 percent since its inception which is losing to inflation bigtime.
People are attached to their 401(k)s because it is their property, which they can carry with them to new jobs, manage as they see fit and bequeath to their heirs.
Before entertaining dreams of state managed retirement accounts, Congresssional Democrats might ask why Europe and Latin America have tried so hard in recent years to move in the opposite direction. Their pension systems are debt ridden, can't easily adjust for demographic shifts and show a historically lower return.
If Democrats want a return to improve the prospects for American retirees, their first priority should be removing barriers to economic growth. Anger over the drop in 401(k) balances is one reason that voters who belong to the investor class swung to Deomcrats in greater than usual numbers this year. Their mandate is for policies that improve those returns, not strip them of tax benefits.
An intelligent discussion would be - is Obama listening to these Democrats or not? He has voted left every time as a Senator.
I think some of you nice fellows should have asked the beautiful lady in the red dress to the ball to keep her away from the sharks. Anybody willing to do that? Call your congressman and senator and tell them hands off your ladies - 401(k).
I need a cold shower.....anyone want to join me.
Posted on: November 14, 2008 2:07 pm
From the Wall Street Journal - Opinion, by James Taranto Oct 23.
If you have a 401(k) or equivalent retirement plan, you've probably been watching nervously the past few weeks as your nest egg has shrunken owing to the current turmoil in the markets.
Well, it could be worse. But don't take heart, for what we mean is it could get worse. The market turmoil has some politicians on Capitol Hill eyeing the end of the 401(k) as we know it. Workforce Management reports on a hearing of the House Education and Labor Committee earlier this month:
A plan by Teresa Ghilarducci, professor of economic-policy analysis at the New School for Social Research in New York, contains elements that are being considered. . . .
Under Ghilarducci's plan, all workers would receive a $600 annual inflation-adjusted subsidy from the U.S. government but would be required to invest 5 percent of their pay into a guaranteed retirement account administered by the Social Security Administration. The money in turn would be invested in special government bonds that would pay 3 percent a year, adjusted for inflation.
The current system of providing tax breaks on 401(k) contributions and earnings would be eliminated.
"I want to stop the federal subsidy of 401(k)s," Ghilarducci said in an interview. "401(k)s can continue to exist, but they won't have the benefit of the subsidy of the tax break."
Ghilarducci outlined her plan last year in a paper for the left-liberal Economic Policy Institute, in which she acknowledges that her plan would amount to a tax increase on workers making more than $75,000--considerably less than the $250,000 Barack Obama has said would be his tax-hike cutoff. In addition, workers would be able to pass on only half of their account balances to their heirs; presumably the government would seize the remaining half. (Under current law, 401(k) balances are fully heritable, although they are subject to the income tax.)
Sounds pretty unappealing, doesn't it? But in her congressional testimony, Ghilarducci offered a sweetener:
Short-term I propose . . . that the Congress allow workers to swap out their 401(k) assets, perhaps at August levels, for a guaranteed retirement account--just a one-time swap. . . .
How would this work? You go back to your districts and meet up with a 55-year-old who had had $50,000 in his account last month and now has $40,000 in the account. He can swap out that $50,000, valued in August, for that guarantee of what would become, if he retires at 62, a $500 a month addition to Social Security.
A 55-year-old who lost 20% of his 401(k) because of the recent stock market decline was investing more aggressively than he should have, given his age. Ghilarducci proposes to reward this imprudence in exchange for dramatically limiting everyone's ability to take risks (and enjoy the corresponding rewards) and for greatly increasing government control of Americans' retirement funds.
It is by no means a certainty that Congress or a President Obama would embrace such a proposal, but this is a direction in which things may move if the Democrats make big gains next month.
Please tell me Obama is not listening to people like this as he forms up his policies.
Posted on: November 11, 2008 8:29 pm
For everyone who thinks George Bush is an idiot with a myriad of failed policies and all that, explain the about face already by Obama on his "exit Iraq NOW!" strategy that was a cornerstone of his campaign. My intent is not to start another who is right and who is wrong discussion about last week's election. What is done is done. I am moving along.
But what is interesting is how fast Obama changed his tune after only one briefing. Now there are only two conceivable reasons he would change his direction so fast:
Now if #1 is true then he is a major flipflopping politician who lied to the nation. But if #2 is true it means that some of the critics of Bush may need to rethink their harsh rebukes. I am only suggesting this for your consideration. But it does make sense. For ten months that is all we heard. Get out of Iraq now. But today we hear the opposite. I can only imagine what changed his mind, but I think it bears careful reconsideration of the actions of George W. Bush. No, he is not perfect and not deserving of a clean slate (just yet anyway), but perhaps he deserves to be seen in a different light not tarnished by vitriolic hatred fanned by a negative media, but looked at in careful review with due dilligence to all the facts, even the ones we don't know (yet).
Just my opinion. Your thoughts.....
Keep it civil folks, I like it better that way.
Posted on: November 9, 2008 2:11 pm
Joe Biden gave us an ominous prediction a few weeks ago about an international test for the new administration. In fact he used the word crisis to describe it and then went on to say the administration would appear wrong in their initial handling of the incident. So the remark came and went and no one wants to talk about it. Does Joe know something or was he just whistling dixie out his backside to scare little ole me? (picture me batting my eyelashes and feigning fear)
So I have been wondering about what it might be. Failing to talk about it makes it fair game for conjecture. And who doesn't like a little what if to make your mind wander?
Number one on the conspiracy hit parade is: Netanyahu will likely be elected head of the Israeli state and the campaign promise to attack Iran's nuclear capability. Wow, talk about a crisis. So what does the administration do that will appear wrong? Not come to the aid of Israel in the almost certain shooting war in the Middle East? I wonder how the large number of American Jews who voted for Obama will like that scenario?
Number two: V. Putin is on a mission without God (say it like Elwood Blues would say it). We're putting the band back together. First Ukraine, then Latvia, Blue Lou from Lithuania, Poland,..... So much for NATO support, is that the "wrong" decision Joe speaks of?
Perhaps it is unfair to hold Joe to his pre-election rhetoric. But it is a dangerous new world out there and I can't help but wonder what it was like for President-elect Obama when he got his first briefing from the guys in the know. You know - the unfiltered stuff right out of the spigot. Still feel like sitting down with the despots that lead our enemy states? Rhetoric is easy, now comes action, resolve and a projection of strength. You'd better be up to it if number 1 or 2 come to pass.
Have a great week minions!
Posted on: November 6, 2008 5:34 pm
The pundits and talking babblers have talked adnauseum about class warfare in the days leading up to and after the election. Obama did all he could to ignite a class war with his tax the rich and give to the poor policies. In the end it became the rallying cry for so many and the final decision point for others. But I am not sure there is a class war at least as these learned journalists and politicians have stated.
I did a lot of studying of the electoral map in the last day or so. It is obvious there is a "class" war in these Sort of United States when you look at the picture but it is not about low - middle -high income brackets at all. It is about urban and rural. By looking at the color map by county on CNN.com one could define where every large urban population AND university town exists throughout the country simply by looking at who voted democrat majority (colored blue on the map) and who did not (repubs).
In straight up land mass, our country is a bright red republican majority. But where it is population dense it is pure democrat. How would you like to be a farmer living in rural Illinois getting dominated by the Chicago democrat machine, or Indiana (Gary and Indy), Ohio (Cleveland, Columbus, Athens and Cincy). You can look at any state and you will easily see where the cities are. Texas is totally red except for the cities.
So why the difference? I would suspect it has something to do with birds of a feather flocking together. But it is deeper than saying poor people or minorities are attracked to cities. I am sure there are poor folks that live in Nebraska and Texas who vote republican. What is it that fundamentally divides us along these urban and rural lines? Welfare is offered in every state and every county. West Virginia is proof of that and they voted republican - no large cities either, though. ( I lived there for a while so that is not a dig, just an observation.)
So the issue is what is the fundamental difference between living in a city and not? Are country folks too proud to ask for a hand out? Are city folks too easily conditioned not to? Is it because the cost of living in the country is less? If so, then why don't the have nots leave the city, come breathe the fresh air and raise their kids outside the failing schools of the cities. And leave the crime behind when you turn your backs on the city. Every city has higher taxes than the country too, so you automatically get a break by leaving.
Every politician promises more money for cops, more money for schools, and more money for the indigent. Why don't we help them leave the cities so they can understand the values of the folks that live in the country? That would be great for the cities and their failing budgets when they shed the burden of the untaxed resident.
I know what you city folks are saying. "Now hold on just a darned minute, there is no way I am leaving the greatest city on earth (fill in your own city) to go live with back woods folks in the boring old country." Well it probably was shorter than that and contained actual profanity but you get the point. But tell me what is so great about living in a city. Pro-sports, yeah got that. A myriad of entertainment, ok sure. Great restaurants, got it. Culture sure. Well what about grid-lock, crime, noise, pollution, crowding, dangerous failing schools - are those just the price to pay for good seats at the game? Oh, my tv picks up all those games and shows, and I do know how to cook pretty well, too.
Nope there is no class war in this country. It is urban - rural warfare. And somewhere in there is the key to solving our nations problems. For those who have read my posts you know where I stand on increasing taxes (especially my own), imagine what it is like for you city folks (you are the majority) to pass tax increases on the country folks (minority) to spend on your folks in the cities. Now I realize there are Repubs and Demos in every part of the country, I am generalizing here, but can you see where the animosity might come from that leads to this "urban" class war? To Mr. Obama, if you want to reach out to America, you will have to leave the cities to do so.
Seems obvious to me.
(BTW- I do live in Cincinnati! but I have lived in the country most of my life and I see the best of both worlds.)
Posted on: November 5, 2008 8:31 am
My mean old Auntie Fillie Buster has died. She was a crusty old lady who could stop a discussion cold with a steely stare. She could impose her will on the family without so much as a peep of descent. This wouldn't have been so bad if we ALL agreed with her but she tended to be a pretty far left thinker and took no pleasure in listening to other's points of view.
For those who cannot see through my prose. I am speaking of the one great victory for America last night. The Democrats were unable to secure the fillibuster proof majority they sought in the Senate. This is huge otherwise there would have been no checks and balances on this Congress or Administration what so ever. And given their somewhat radical tendencies to the left I believe this was an imperative.
A final thought that really pissed me off as an American. I wonder if I was the only one who picked up on it. When it became apparent that Obama would win, the talking heads of the networks began to wonder out loud what kind of president he would be. They began to make statements like: Well, we don't really know where he stands on this issue or that issue and on and on.
Wasn't that your job Media folks? To find out by asking questions?
The media is Dead along with Auntie Fillie Buster.
The fourth estate, guaranteed by the first amendment protecting free speech, failed to do its job through the primary season and throughout the election season.
Most media outlets are bleeding cash, print media stock prices are one-fifth of their price a couple of years ago. A correlation there? I think so.