Friday, December 31, 2010

MTA - Lost Their Way

It’s going on a week since our latest weather event on Long Island.  Many of our streets are still dangerously slippery with snow banks blocking parking spots or passing lanes for that matter.
Parking lots in most of the shopping malls are nearly clear but the Long Island Railroad has not finished their work.
Well, that last part is not exactly true.  The LIRR, part of the MTA has finished what they set out to do, raise fares!  (In case you are not from around here - the two acronyms are supposed to stand for the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the Long Island Rail Road.)
With the memory of yet another terribly amateurish attempt at running ‘on or near’ schedule still fresh in the minds of the riders the LIRR has just raised the cost to use their service.
Is it fair to call one word an oxymoron?
For the LIRR "on time" means being less than 6 minutes late!  Imagine telling your bank you were only $6 short on your mortgage payment!!!
What nerve these arrogant bastards have!
But they have not just raised the fares; they have completely canceled trains and combined others on their schedule and basically lowered the expectation of fairness system wide.
If you'd like to see how they don’t care one bit about their customers you need only look at the list of their new surcharges and fees.
For example if you accidentally purchase a wrong ticket for let’s say $6 and wish to return it you will get your money back LESS A $10 SERVICE FEE!
In other words the great folks at the LIRR will take your ticket back IF YOU PAY THEM $4!!!
Oh, and if you wish to buy a couple of extra tickets because it’s a pain to wait on line at the last second you now have only 1 week to use them before they expire!
And don’t even think about buying a ticket while on the train unless you have access to a home equity line of credit and can pass a Homeland Security background check!!!
While there are many more fees and service charges that could make a normal commuter’s blood boil we must still remember that the LIRR is part of the MTA which has added its own set of ‘screw you’ fees.
If you wish to have a Metro Card in order to ride the subways plan on keeping it forever.  And leave that valuable piece of paper in the will for your children.
The MTA, (Going Their Way – Not Yours) is now charging an extra dollar for new cards claiming that the tiny bits of nothing cost too much to print and are not environmentally friendly!
As if the MTA EVER gave a rat’s ass about the environment!
The bottom line is simply if you live on Long Island the experiment is on to see how much can be stolen from your wallets before you are forced to drive everywhere.
And with the price of gas about to top $4 per gallon (it’s already averaging $3.50) that plays right into the hands of George W Bush’s friends, the Saudis.
The consumer really has only one way to show his or her dissatisfaction with something, boycott.
Unfortunately in this case it is very hard to get around without using one of the MTA’s services.  So the next best solution is to leave Long Island; New York City; and New York State altogether (Leslie Nielson would now be waiting for all of you to repeat that last part so…)
The acronym at the top can now be explained to mean Much Too Arrogant!  And its subsidiary stands for Life Is Really Rough here.
So as much of Long Island grays the easy life of ‘early bird’ specials and hanging chads beckons.  And it’s only a matter of time before those of us with any brains and a small amount of pocket change leave this overly-expensive over-taxed under-funded wasteland.
Eventually only migrant workers cleaning the pools and trimming the summer lawns of the uber wealthy in the Hamptons will remain.

Balance the Budget!

Balance the Budget or ‘BtB’ sounds like the acronym for Business to Business, a term used when one going concern sells its wares to another for eventual final mark-up and sale to the end consumer.
But this BtB leaves out all the middle men and silly end product or service thingies and makes the consumer PAY FOR NOTHING!
You will get nothing but you will pay!
Let’s face it when politicians, and especially the so-called fiscally responsible yet hypocritically phony Republicans say they wish to balance the budget what they are really saying is screw the poor and middle classes.
Now some may feel that I am merely using hyperbole (I use words like hyperbole to confuse the likes of Sarah Palin and her friends who’ve never seen the inside of a book.)
But when I say the Republicans are out to get the middle class just look at the facts.
Tax cuts for people who do not need tax cuts, aka the filthy rich is about to cause a record and unsustainable increase in the deficit.
If the deficit rises too far in order to keep the Nation afloat we will have to float loans at dangerously high interest levels and borrow money from wonderfully friendly places like China.
And this will merely kick the can down the road to our children and their children.
As a result of this strategy cuts in services become necessary.
And on whose backs will those cuts fall?
Well we've just given the wealthy a tax gift or rather continued the gift from 'W' so they won’t be involved.  And that leaves, uh, er, um who exactly?
Well by process of elimination we’re about to eliminate the middle class.
But first we must appease that group of eunuchs with a ‘Trojan Horse’ type of gift in the form of a tiny tax cut of their own.
When you are making $50,000 per year a 3% tax cut is nice but it won’t get you a new car.
However 3% for one of those wonderful hedge fund managers who took in over one billion dollars last year and add so much to society allows them to buy a dealership and have enough left over for a nice year long vacation.
Of course the extra walking around money for these pillars of mankind might allow them to hire one or two workers but at minimum wage only and possibly just part time.  After all there is always that ‘uncertainty’ thing hanging around in the future somewhere.
Next we lower the Social Security payroll deduction from 6.2 % to 4.2%.  This means the average worker, assuming he or she is still employed will receive an extra pittance in their post deduction take home pay pocket.
But before you go out and book the Plaza for your next affair you should know that our leaders have just removed millions of dollars from an already hurting fund meant to cushion our ‘golden years.’
In other words they are starting to chip away at that most socialistic program of all, Social Security.
And who will be hurt most when Social Security is gone, the wealthy?
Give me a break!
I happen to love the guy but does anyone think Warren Buffet will be relying on his Social Security payments to get him through his retirement?
Next on the agenda for the new majority in the House but thankfully not the Senate will be the dismantling of another program meant to help the eunuchs in the middle class, health care reform.
Why should the wealthy corporations have to take care of the little guy?  After all the more money they spend on those ragamuffins the less bribe dollars there are to go around from “K Street.”
So what’s the solution?
Should we just forget about the budget?
No indeed!
Balancing the budget is a good thing.  And it’s been done before, under Democratic Presidents with the help of a Congress that had the greater good in mind.
Unfortunately these days the only thing these hypocrites have on their minds is who will be in charge after the next election and then the one after that.
The heat of summer had not yet passed and all we heard on the news was who is running for President in 2012!
So as far as our government is concerned damn the middle class, full speed ahead.
Perhaps it is time for the little people to understand what is going on in DC and the board rooms of the corporations that own that town.
Perhaps WE should start threatening second amendment rights!
Of course that's just as absurd a notion now as it was when that idiot from Nevada first said it but...
When the government does not listen or worse, does not care about WE THE PEOPLE it may be time for WE THE PEOPLE to speak a little louder!

Thursday, December 30, 2010


I love that word.
Juxtapositions conjure up contradictions and opposing views that somehow mesh together into a whirlwind conglomeration of life as we know it.
And if you alter the letters of juxtapose just a little the resulting homonym, ‘just suppose’ is quite thought provoking.
Just suppose that all the peoples of the world worked together as one.
Just suppose we treated the Earth as our home rather than our garbage dump.
Just suppose we all had the common goal of making the universe our backyard.
Just suppose we were able to put all the great minds together to find cures for all that ails our species as well as others.
Just suppose those great minds could instill the desire in current and future generations to become great.
And finally just suppose that we all realized how stupid it is to be fighting wars in the name of peace.
Juxtapositions have been around since before the dawn of mankind and will be here when we are long gone.
But don’t think they all have to be bad.
The inventor of the compound trinitrotoluene, aka TNT was Alfred Nobel of the Nobel Peace Prize!  In other words he gave us the means with which to blow ourselves up and an award for not doing so!

But reality is what it is and ‘just suppose’ is juxtaposed on it every day.
The news fills our lives with stories of new and amazing advances in medicine juxtaposed against those showing our troops searching for terrorists who live like moles in caves.
We see extravagant life styles with lavish parties thrown on yachts or at mansions while millions upon millions of Americans wonder where their next meals will come from.
We witnessed the financial meltdown in Europe that caused citizens to riot over increased educational costs while being told how important education is to our collective futures.
Financial cable shows point to people buying luxury items as proof the recession is over only to broadcast the next story about skyrocketing oil and gas prices that will cause the economy to tank.
There are weather related stories showing record droughts; floods; extreme heat and major snowstorms with bone-chilling cold all blanketed against claims that climate change is a myth.
And speaking of myths there is now a theme park with Noah’s Arc showing man and dinosaur cohabitating, an oxymoronic juxtaposition in and of itself.
Law abiding hard working productive members of society who love each other are barred from being wed at any cost while the World prepares to watch the spectacle of yet another so-called Royal Wedding in London, paid for by whom?
And finally people who have been unemployed for years due to the wrong doings of others and now in need of assistance are used as pawns in a power struggle to help millionaires and billionaires keep even more of their easy earned cash, many of whom caused the problems in the first place.
Now juxtapose all the above with year end celebrations that traditionally bring people together hoping for peace and good will toward all mankind.
So as the final juxtaposition comes and the famed ball drops in Times Square we say goodbye to father time and the dying 2010 while saying hello to the baby that shall become 2011.
Will this finally be the year?
Just suppose!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Not Your Average Dummy

I have been blogging about dummies and puppets for a while.
It's unfortunate but they are everywhere.
Usually you don't get to see the actual person who pulls their strings or yanks their cords or for the most part completely controls them.
That is until now!
This dummy should amuse you greatly.
Let me know.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

2 + 2 = ???

Quick – How much is two plus two?
Don't bother to argue with me you're wrong because it's my question and I decide the parameters!
In ancient times some smart retailer caused the phrase, “Caveat Emptor” to be coined.  The translation and spirit of the two-word oft used phrase is, “Let the buyer beware.”
Back then unscrupulous salesmen would use tactics such as 'bait and switch' or hidden requirements to negate any offer that sounded great but was actually too good to be true.
So what's changed?
Not a whole lot I'm afraid.  If anything the practice has become more rampant and the companies behind them more emboldened by our laziness to point out the fraud and demand justice.
And these days the ‘buyer’ may be anyone other than the owner of a company, bank, business, fake news network, or Congress.
Earlier this week a young couple appeared on a Fox TV show that offers contestants a chance at winning one million dollars.  They did but then again this is America and the show was on Fox!
The bottom line is simply that the couple wagered $800,000 and answered the question correctly but rather than admit that the show’s moderator told them they were wrong and the money was lost.
The internet uproar over the obvious fraud and or stupidity by Fox was nearly immediate.
But really guys, was the network’s response to giving one million dollars to an African American couple really so surprising?
Now had they been members of the Republican Party the ending may have been different.
But the feeling that corporations can do whatever they please in their effort to bilk the average citizen does not stop with partisan television networks such as Fox.  From top to bottom you will find fraudulent practices everywhere if you just take the time to look.
A few days ago I received a nice coupon from Pathmark, a grocery store chain owned by the now bankrupt A&P Corporation.  The coupon stated that I could pickup a dozen eggs on sale from their usual price of $2.49 down to the one day offer of FREE!
Since yesterday was not actually the day I was born I figured there had to be a catch so I got out my magnifying glass and read the small print, front and back.
Lo and behold there were no restrictions.
But the coupon was only a part of the entire flyer from the store so I perused both sides looking for something, anything that hinted Caveat Emptor.
I found nothing so I got in my car and drove to the store armed with the coupon and a small list of other items I figured I’d pick up at the same time.
This type of offer for free eggs is not totally without precedence and is known as a lost leader in so much as the store figures to lose a tiny amount but make it up on the rest of the purchases.
However when I arrived at the egg display I found a tiny printed note informing shoppers who were lured to the store by the sale that an additional purchase of $10 was required.
OMG, a not so free offer!
I was upset but had already placed around $8 in my cart so another $2 wasn’t going to kill me.  I decided to forget about the fraud and buy something else.
And that something else was a $10 six-pack of beer that I needed for a party that night anyway.
Now for the fun; I waited on line and when my turn to pay finally arrived I was informed that in addition to the ‘now’ required $10 additional purchase I could not use beer toward that minimum!
Complaining to the customer service personnel I was informed that beer is never included in this kind of offer and there is always a minimum purchase to get something for free!
And to make her point even more convincing this woman explained all of the above in a manner that basically said I was an idiot for not knowing that!
Well excuuuuse me!!!  I thought you were customer service, bitch!
Ultimately I made the exchange of beer for a couple of snacks and ended up spending less money than if the store had lived up to what their printed coupon promised.
The bottom line is this kind of fraud is rampant in America and anyone who is not observant will be stung by it.
As for the Pathmark chain and its parent corporation A&P I guess we should add the words ‘morally bankrupt’ as well.
(By the way I stopped off at another store on the way home and got the beer for half the price.)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Et Tu Caesar?

When I was younger (as opposed to when I was older?) my aunt and her crew had a family dog named Caesar.
I wouldn't get to see the friendly bull dog very often, Caesar not my aunt, because they lived in a far off land called New Jersey.
Okay, maybe it isn't all that far from Queens, New York but they lived a nice distance away in Jersey and up in the mountains overlooking Lake Hopatcong.  Getting there just wasn't that convenient so we ended up visiting only on certain special occasions.  And since we had to pick up my grandma as well the entire trip became a production, don't ask!
Like any family my aunt and company had their interesting dynamic but generally they were good people.  I say were because too many of them are gone due to cancer and that includes my mom and her brother.  I guess it isn't surprising since they always had a cigarette in use or on deck.
But back to our family outings.
It was always something when we visited the Hopatcong group but one of the constant cast members of those days was Caesar.
No matter where we were the lumbering mostly quiet bull dog would be present.
We might be sitting around the den watching the television when a malodorous vapor permeated our nasal passages.
Since this was family we naturally figured one of us must be the culprit but before anyone was singled out someone in the room would yell, "Caesar!"
Now it didn't matter if Caesar, who was minding his own business, was asleep, or even in the room it was obvious that the old dog was to blame.  But his punishment was nothing more than finger pointing and 'tsking.'
And let's face it, to a dog it meant attention and he naturally ate it up with a gleeful wagging of his tail.
Despite the stress involved for reasons too personal or private to mention here those were fun times.  Blaming the dog was easy and could be done without fear of successful contradiction.  The real culprit, if other than Caesar would always get away without so much as a scolding.
And that brings me to our country's current socially charged situation, the middle class, the economy and unemployment.
While most Americans were minding their own business trying to make a living the so-called upper classes were tweaking the rules and pulling the strings of their puppets in Congress.
Deriving great wealth from derivatives that many of them didn't even understand they slowly but surely changed the dynamic fragrance and landscape of America.
The result of their machinations is now clear and has been for over two years, the world's economy stinks!
In order to fix things and make sure it never happens again many ideas have been brought to the table.
Many fingers have been pointed and many arguments have been made.
But many people are still hurting and will be hurting for a long time to come.
So what is the fate of the real villains who fouled the air of the economy?
How have these emperors of Wall Street and big bank board rooms been punished?
Many if not all will be receiving their usual obscene and totally undeserved bonuses any second now.  Others too embarrassed to accept the large outlay of former tax payer dollars are being compensated with  huge raises.  One can only assume the deferred bonuses will come next December, if not earlier.
And the tax breaks they received under former President Bush and company will now continue for another two years!
And will any of that money be used to hire more workers?
Please!  You can't be serious! (Go ahead and say it, I'll wait...)
It is this, "I come to bury the middle class, not to hire them" attitude that hurts the most.
And to add insult to injury this new found addition to their wealthy portfolios will be handed down to their heirs at reduced tax rates when they finally pass on.
Millions of formerly hard working Americans are lining up at the unemployment offices for their weak weekly stipend.
Others who have exhausted their 99 week meager handouts are still trying to find gainful employment in a business world all too happy to take advantage of their dire need for even minimum wage.
The American middle class trusted the government and the business leaders of the country to compensate them for their dogged loyalty.  They were and are sadly naive!
We may have blamed Caesar for that which he did not do but we loved him and took care of him!
So who is to blame for the true malodorous stench filtering through our economy today?
The old bull dog may be gone but the aroma lingers on and in the end the innocent among us are the ones taking the punishment.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Far Left or Far Out?

If you look at the map of the United States Las Vegas and California can be said to be on the left.
Naturally I am speaking literally and not politically but the following is a reprint of an email I received from a friend on the left side of America.
And this time I mean it both ways!
The view from Vegas:
Nationalize the oil companies.
Guaranteed job or income for everyone, put to work on infrastructure investment projects, alternative energy projects, retrofitting buildings to be energy efficient, etc.
Cradle-to-grave Medicare-For-All. 
Child care for all. 
Eldercare for all. 
6 week paid vacation for everyone. 
Triple Social Security's payments, lower retirement age to 55. 
Worker representatives on Boards of Directors. 
Limits to the how much of larger companies can be owned by a person or entity. 
When companies reach a certain size they become public entities. (Because they have so much effect on everything.) 
Companies responsible for externalized cost payback. 
A person whose job is replaced by technology receives for life a share of the savings. 
Bring back 90% top tax rates.  (OK I have been agitating for that one.) 
Very very high estate taxes on very large estates.  Maybe up to 99% on estates over $1 billion. 
Freedom from distraction.  We have a right to our own attention, free from advertising and commercialization.  The right to public spaces free from commercialization. 
  • How many of these are even "far left" ideas? I'd agree with most of these.
    Basically I'm describing Europe here, not Maoist China. (And Europe is actually a bit to our right, I mean East!)

    Thanks to Larry F from Henderson, just outside of Vegas for the list. (Send him your hate mail via my blog if you are so inclined.  I did not compile the list, Adrian, I'm just the messenger.)

    Now I do not believe that all of the above could nor should be implemented in this country but when we even try to raise the Estate Tax to the still too low rate of 35% lawmakers who count on billionaires for bribe money almost have heart attacks!
    But one careful look at this wish list should make everyone aware how our laws are terribly skewed toward the wealthy.
    Ratification of any of the items so noted would cost the wealthy a tiny amount of their current and ever rising obscene profits.
    The 'right' will tell you that in doing so we will hurt job growth.  But the argument does not hold water, or anything else for that matter when you realize that for the 8 years under the 'wealthy-friendly' administration of 'W' we lost more jobs than we gained!
    Our nation should embrace the practice of compromise in a real and fair fashion.
    It would be a wise thing to do.
    After all a healthy give and take is, well healthy.
    And while I don't know about early to bed and early to rise surely a healthy nation is wealthy and wise.

  • Monday, December 20, 2010

    Fa La La La Laaaa...

    Thanks to Perry Hall & Leo
    For those of us feeling adrift
    Or maybe just needing a lift
    The following chorus
    Is here to sing for us
    An animal treat that's a gift!

    Click This & Deck your Halls!

    Friday, December 17, 2010

    New Year's Eve 2010 Wish

    Bills keep rising, spirits falling, our net worth’s down as well
    As jobs elude us we are nervous, what will the future tell

    Rules and laws come from our Congress helping those who’ve ‘got’
    But these leaders miss the masses and millions who ‘have not’

    Tis the time of year, it’s been said, give help to those in need
    House the homeless, clothe the naked, the hungry surely feed

    But still the wealthy seek out more wealth; ways to make it grow
    Sitting on their self made perches; see not the world below

    Some make a New Year's resolution to do a good and useful thing
    But sadly those seem not to last; forgotten by the Spring

    So for crowds in cold Manhattan, cheering the fall of the ‘ball’
    I wish for peace, health and prosperity not just for one but ALL!

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    Fat Cats or Flat Out Rats

    The world may be flat these days but do we in America have to 'flat-line?'
    The majority of Americans are hurting and many are just holding on for dear life.  Jobs are scarce and the ones that people have are constantly under the microscope.  But they are not being reviewed because they are suspected of being incompetent but rather too costly for the wealthy business owners who are so much in the driver's seat these days as to be embarrassing!
    The divide between the poor or middle class and the Uber Wealthy has never been wider.  And with a favorable Congress and Supreme Court it figures that the distance between the two groups will only increase.
    We have long had the blooming obvious future of a world economic trade system but most of us had hoped for a bit of fairness toward the workers who allowed the wealthy ones to actually become so.
    Boy were we naive!  Or should I say criminally insane?
    Back in the 1990's I spoke to the textile industry about the future world where corporations would be sending American jobs overseas because they were not punished for doing so.  In fact they were almost implored to act in that un-American way lest they fell behind their competition who was most assuredly doing so.
    When a corporation can get the same work output for less money it behooves the company to move and move quickly.
    Unfortunately two things happen:
    1.  Americans are laid off and unemployment rises in this country and
    2.  The quality of the product produced by the newcomers from the foreign land is nowhere near that of the original worker's.
    But the bottom line is who cares as long as the American consumer can buy the product for 25% less than before?
    I'll tell you who cares - the consumer who no longer has a job here and cannot afford to buy the inferior product even if he wanted to!
    When I first started working in the Textile industry a very smart savvy man told me that I should never tout our product as cheap but rather inexpensive.  "Cheap," he said "meant that the item was poorly made and not worthy of the market while inexpensive was a good deal that customers would naturally want!"
    Well what we have in America these days is a sh*t load of CHEAP crap at relatively inexpensive prices.
    But if you factor the fact that you will have to replace the cheap crap sooner into the equation the overall cost goes way up!
    Sooner or later the corporation will have to start replacing inferior items at an annoying cost and they will have to pass along that cost to the consumer lest they lower their profit margin and not be able to take home their obscene profits!
    At that point they will tell their retailers, "We've upped our pricing so up yours!"
    All we have to do is look at many of the items brought back into America by these "multi-national" corporations that have caused health problems or dangers or even death to realize they moved too quickly or our Government was asleep at the switch in their closed-eyed pro-business way.
    But in order to turn things around now will take time. It will take lots of time!
    You see there are many American workers sitting at home surfing the internet or pounding the pavement looking for work.  The business world can have their pick of the litter.
    And the word litter is an apropos word since that is what they think of those of us out of work for so long - Litter; garbage!
    We are asked to fill jobs at less than half what we used to get if we are even asked in the first place!  And the corporations are raking in the profits and raping the public and still the government only shakes their collective heads.
    Unemployment numbers are at near record levels and Congress debates how much money should be gifted to the wealthy people who caused most of the pain and suffering in the first place!
    No matter what deal now comes out of Washington DC it is incredibly clear that those of us on the ground - the real Americans - the ones who were once considered the backbone of the country are looking toward a real and scary future that is nothing but flat!

    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    What's Good for the Goose

    Every time one of our bills goes up or a service upon which we rely is removed the phrase used to explain why includes the words, “due to these difficult economic times.”
    But are not the difficult economic times affecting us all?
    We the people who are paying taxes for services that heretofore were included are now being told to forget about them.
    Our tax dollars are just not going as far anymore.
    Starting in January of 2011 if you are involved in a car accident in New York City and you need help in any way shape or form you will receive a bill from the city’s Fire Department for services rendered.  They even have a menu of charges set to go into effect that measures the severity of your injuries and needs.
    One possible scenario includes the fire chief standing over you just before the jaws of life are used to extricate your bleeding body from the gnarled wreckage of your vehicle asking you to sign the waiver and promissory note to ‘pay or stay.’
    "Let’s see, one broken arm; a bleeding leg; a gash over the right eye and a small fire.  That comes to $1,285 plus tax.  Will that be cash or charge?  Or would you like to fry with that?”
    Okay, it’s not to that extreme yet but just what's the point?
    I understand that the City and State are in dire straits but aren’t we all?  And aren’t the people who live here paying taxes for these and other services?
    Where is this heading and how long before the ridiculous scenario I note above becomes a reality?
    If our tax dollars can not cover our day to day needs or even our safety then just why are we paying them at all?
    All across America municipalities are starting to do this sort of 'backing out' of services from the public role.
    Note that viral video about the man whose house burned to the ground while the firemen watched because he had not yet paid the required $75 bribe.
    Despicable events like this will soon become the norm if we sit back and allow the situation to continue.
    Insurance companies have been pulling stunts like this for years.  Without a public outcry and push back it will continue and fester until the infection is everywhere.
    Homeowners insurance used to cover anything that could go wrong and cause damage to your home.  But the underwriters realized that if they specified certain possible events in the definition of coverage they could effectively make them ‘riders’ and force homeowners to pay extra to keep them. Such was the inception of flood insurance which used to be part of everyone’s policy as a matter of course.  Not anymore!
    We wonder where all our tax dollars are actually going.  We rightly complain that there has to be enough to go around especially since so many people have been laid off and the few who get rehired are receiving much less in compensation.  So businesses have to be raking in the profits.
    Our individual taxes have not gone down even though we are hurting at every turn.  At best our taxes may stay the same but one must surely expect corporations to make up the difference needed since they just reported their highest profits ever.
    But that did not happen because of the loopholes and tax laws and continued kowtowing to the wealthy by the puppets in D.C. and the friendly Supreme Court.
    Does anyone like the subsidy being offered to billionaires that allows them to pay taxes at a lower rate than their secretaries?  Even many billionaires have stated the Bush tax gift should expire for those in the top brackets.
    Or how about the fact that when these wealthiest of the wealthy pass away their heirs will get obscene amounts of cash bequeathed in the wills and pay taxes on this unearned income at a ridiculously low rate?
    The fact that we will have to cut some spending and curtail parts of some services for the masses in order to get our fiscal houses in order is inevitable.  But cutting taxes on the wealthiest among us who are already paying at a lower rate is past absurd and borderline criminal.
    Perhaps the middle class should stop paying taxes completely and request a menu of charges from the City, State and Federal governments as to which services we are comfortable with and which we no longer wish to receive.
    I personally take my dangerous pollutants to a drop off point for proper disposal and would have no problem also carrying my trash there as well.  So I no longer wish to pay for the garbage removal in my area.  I realize that others still wish to have that service and that’s fine with me.  However I want that portion removed from my taxes.
    It sounds absurd, right?
    But unfortunately I must make that request ‘due to these hard economic times.’

    Thursday, December 9, 2010

    Road Map to 2012

    Okay so here’s the deal.  I will give you the keys to the brand new Rolls Royce of your choice if you can complete one simple task.  But if you cannot complete the task you will be tossed out on your ear and the opportunity will be given to someone else.
    The task is simply that you must drive a car, any standard car from the easternmost tip of Long Island to the western end of the Santa Monica Pier without using paved roads.  And you must complete the trip in 12 hours.
    Clearly it is not possible to drive from one end of America to the other in 12 hours on paved roads, let alone dirt ones given our current technology.  So any sane individual would conclude the task is not only silly but ridiculously unfair.
    However a similar task is given to every law maker we vote into office these days.
    We tell these men and women that they must fix whatever it is that is broken in the country and do it within a year and a half.  We then allow others to stand in their way.
    And the penalty for failing to complete the task is the same as in the car scenario, they will be tossed out on their ears and their opponents, the ones standing in the way will be given a shot at completing the impossible task.  And the cycle will continue biennially on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
    Last month we saw many Democrats tossed out of Congress and the President’s approval ratings drop because that majority party could not right all the wrongs that were put in place over the previous 8 years under the Bush administration.
    Of course the main obstacles the Democrats had to put up with were roadblocks placed every few feet by that minority party.  And instead of crashing through the barriers as many wished they had the Democrats demurely attempted to drive around them.  And for that strategy they paid a steep toll.
    And therein lay the main problem in the American political system today. The party in power is asked to drive cross country but do so without a full tank of gas.
    Earlier today on one of the ubiquitous cable television political shows a pundit inadvertently laid out the Republican plan for the next two years.  He did so while discussing the efficacy of a Sarah Palin run for the White House in 2012.
    Forgetting the fact that the woman, who could not even complete one term as the Governor of Alaska is not Presidential caliber the question was merely, could she win.
    The answer was short but spoke volumes.  “If the unemployment rate in America is still above 8.5% in 18 months then Sarah Palin or just about any Republican will beat Obama.”
    Well there you have it sports fans the country should brace itself for the continued "No" tactics of the Republican Party as they maintain their efforts to keep many of us out of work.
    In fact they could hope for a landslide in their direction if they can keep the rate above 9%.
    In other words if you get jobs they lose theirs!  That's quite an incentive, no?
    And if you don’t think they can do it you haven’t been paying attention for the past few years.
    With a majority in the House and continued growth in the Senate vis a vie the skittish meek Democrats they have more control over what happens in America so, job seekers fuggedaboutit.
    It is clear that Congress is either out of touch with the needs of the average citizen or just does not care.  Most of the Republicans and many Democrats realize that their campaigns are funded by the wealthiest 1 to 2 % of the country. These people also use unique and devious methods to send money to 'friends' of their causes.
    And while the other 98% do vote they have shown a talent for being manipulated by clever and misleading ads.  Ads paid for with the money from that small but influential group of nameless faceless corporations and individual billionaires empowered by new rulings from a Supreme Court hand picked by the Republicans.
    They say ‘the squeaky wheel gets the grease.’
    But it is also said that ‘money talks, nobody walks.’
    Or as Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “A full wallet groans louder than an empty stomach.”
    And in DC those fat wallets are screaming!
    At midnight on January 1st we will have a new Congress taking the wheel of our nation's economic car.  Does anyone really believe they will get to Santa Monica by noon?

    Monday, December 6, 2010

    Were He Alive Today

    In the 1930s America moved at a slower pace than today.
    Information came via the paper delivered in the morning or picked up at the newsstand on the way to work.
    If something momentous happened the news would be disseminated over the airwaves on the new and miraculous Marconi wireless.
    Nearly every household had one of those lovely pieces of furniture in their living room.
    We might enjoy the Sunday Chase and Sanborn hour or The Lucky Strike Show.
    The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Eddie Cantor entertained us while Orson Welles' 1938 reenactment of the classic "War of the Worlds" scared the living daylights out of us.
    But a full 69 years ago tomorrow Americans huddled around the family radio for a different type of terror, a real one!
    Dubbed as 'a date which will live in infamy' December 7th was in fact the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and officially invited us into World War II.
    President Roosevelt's impassioned speech in front of both houses of Congress merely repeated the obvious, that a state of war had already existed as a result of the attack.
    The rest is, as they say history.
    But most of us are under attack again.
    This time by a far more sneaky foe.
    Were President Roosevelt alive today perhaps he would address Congress in the following manner.

    Today, December 7th, 2010 the date Congress proved they have 'it in for me' - - The United States middle class was suddenly and deliberately attacked by representatives of the Empire of the wealthy and their Republican puppet regime.

    The average citizen was at peace readying for a holiday season while representatives of the people from the Democratic Party were still in conversation with the emperors of the Republican Party.  Hope was still alive for peace from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
    Indeed within an hour of the meetings Republican Party members commenced bombarding the airwaves with a continued and continual assault on the American middle class.  This act was in direct contrast to their words of possible bipartisanship deal making when speaking behind closed doors.
    It will be recorded that the distance from the Oval Office to the multi media microphone podium was short and that therefore the attack on the public was deliberate and the Party meant to deceive United States middle class by false statements and expression of hope for continued peace.
    The attack on the middle class has caused and will continue to cause severe damage to the economy of the average citizen of this country.
    I regret to inform you that many American jobs and homes have been lost and more will join their ranks as the Republican Party and their benefactors continue to torpedo any attempt aimed at helping the average Joe from Honolulu to San Francisco and across this great nation to the Eastern seaboard.
    I submit that the Republican Party:
    will continue to attack Medicare;
    will continue to attack unemployment assistance;
    will continue to attack fair taxes on the wealthy;
    will continue to attack all so-called middle class entitlements;
    And therefore will continue to attack my beloved Social Security.
    The Republican Party has therefore undertaken a not so surprising offensive throughout the entire American theater.
    Their actions today and yesterday and for that matter all the yesterdays speak for themselves.
    The people of the United States should have already formed their opinions and must well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation!
    As your commander in chief it is up to the President to direct that all measures be taken for the defense of the public at large.  But always must our nation and especially the middle class remember the character or lack thereof of the onslaught against us.
    No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion into our pocketbooks and our lives by the ever increasing power of the wealthy base of the Republican Party the American people in their righteous might and fortitude shall win through to absolute victory.
    I believe that I interpret the will of the Democrats in Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.
    Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, our jobs and homes, our interests, and our very lives are in grave danger.
    With confidence in our representatives in Congress, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph -- so help us God.
    I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by the Republican Party and their wealthy benefactors in the private banking and corporate sector on Tuesday, December 7th, 2010, a state of war has existed between the United States middle class and the Republican Empire of the wealthy.

    I hereby give up any rights to the above should anyone care to forward this to President Obama.