Saturday, November 22, 2014

Say What You Mean!

Psychologists will tell you it’s not what you say but how you say it that is the most important part of getting a message across.
And not just a message but your entire agenda depends upon making people believe you are saying something else or more than just the words you are using.
This sort of verbal sleight of hand is used every second of every day in places such as Las Vegas where many people who cannot afford to lose $100 routinely plunk down round black pieces of plastic known as chips at a craps or black jack table.
For those of you unfamiliar with convention black chips are generally worth $100!
Schein CEO
Stanley Bergman
Politicians honed this technique over the last few decades and businesses or corporations are masters of this psycho-babble whenever they speak of profits and profitability.
For example Henry Schein Inc. a healthcare distributor on Long Island has just announced the purchase of Cardinal Health Inc.’s physician office business.
The first hint that a ‘shoe is about to drop’ as it were is when they claim both companies will realize a slight increase in earnings over the next year.
Really, spending so much money to buy another company alone will make you both more profitable?
Schein CEO Bergman even went so far as to tout the deal as good for the workers of Long Island since “the acquisition will add about 200” jobs!  And this on top of the number they already employ which is over 17,000 worldwide.
So they are talking real numbers, no euphemisms and certainly no chips.
Then the shoe does come into play when he mentions that they have plans to trim the workforce by 2 or 3%.
Well that’s okay, right?  I mean 17,000 and 200 coming real soon are so much larger numbers than a measly little one like 3, right?
Well let’s see.  Three percent of 17,000 just happens to be 510!
So this wonderful magnanimous job creating deal will actually create a net loss of over 300 jobs.
Nicely done guys.
Sadly this type of consolidation and job loss is not an isolated thing.
I’m not saying that businesses must sit back and do nothing to further their need for greed and a larger piece of any and every pie but why lie about it?  Why try to make every move you make to fill your pockets at the expense of your employees, or previous employees look like you are saints on a mission to help your fellow man?
For once come out and say what you really mean without mixing metaphors.  Stop consciously creating confusion in your quest for unbridled power over your peers.
We get it you don’t give a thought about the workers who helped your company grow.  You couldn’t care less if they lose their homes or starve after you discard them.
No I don’t expect you to say those truths but don’t hit me with the old “I’ll respect you
in the morning” crap!

The non-fiscal bottom line message in America is still purposely filled with obfuscation. But if you are willing to read between the lines the real agenda comes through loud and clear.  The biggest problem facing the American working middle class is that our leaders are unwilling to listen.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Are You Comfortable?

As my dad got older he settled into his day to day routine and seemed to have go to phrases he enjoyed using.  For example if asked if he was comfortable he'd quip, "I make a living."
He was (is) my dad and therefore I smiled or sometimes even laughed at the statement I'd heard him say 100 times.
Back in his day he did make a living, at least for the years after World War II.
In his youth he struggled as so many of his generation did.
He lost his parents while he was in his teens and had to go out and earn money to help support his brother and sister.  He even took two jobs in order to make ends meet and be somewhat comfortable.
During the depression, the one back in the 1930s many people had to hold two jobs or possible more to keep one step ahead of wolf.
Those of us in my generation look back at those intrepid survivors and marvel at their selfless stamina and will to survive.
Sailor Sol being honored
for his service before
America decided to forget
about him and others of his
generation in favor of the
wealthy business owners
and their bribe money
He served honorably and courageously in the South Pacific during the second World War and returned to his growing family.
Then came Levittown and the fifties and the start of an extended period of  good times for the so-called middle class as the returning war heroes and their families realized there was an American Dream to aspire toward.
As the middle class grew and their lives became relatively easy compared with their childhood they grew a tiny bit complacent.  They figured America would always have their backs and the country would keep improving conditions for the backbone of society.
They were wrong!
Greed is a terrible thing.
It's a cancer on the soul.
But it's a strange type of cancer, one that eats at the fabric of  society and ruins the lives not of the host but of those around them!
Little by little the wealthier among us realized that they could have a larger piece of the apple if they could control the orchard.  If they could offer lawmakers a sort of commission (bribe in common terms) to keep things in line they could forge ahead of others and grab the brass ring without even working up a sweat!
No more did the wealthiest among us have to worry about two jobs or in many cases even one!  They could own a business and let it run comfortable in the notion that no stifling regulations would be placed in their path even if their products were harmful to humans.
Suddenly every business owner and CEO realized that the key to success lay not only in having a good product but also in owning cheap disorganized, non-unionized labor as well as the occasional Congressman!
Slaves or serfs were the way to go.
If they could keep the worker down, keep their friends in power by blocking the votes of those who figured out their evil plan, and tilt the playing field in their favor the game would most assuredly be theirs to win.  It was a blueprint on 'How to Truly Succeed without Even Trying!
And suddenly almost as though some evil telepathic agreement on price and wage fixing spread throughout the land and every business owner was in cahoots in the collusion.
Some smaller communities or closed sets of owners have their own unspoken rules to keep lowly workers down.  For example if an employee tries to better himself by moving to a different company for a penny more in salary he cannot do so if the new company is owned by a member of the same faith as his current one! Don't believe me? Ask me in private and I'll give you intimate details of how this evil scheme works and who perpetrates it every freaking day of the year!
Businesses have sent so many jobs overseas there is really no way for things to get back to the way they were in our lifetime until Americans allow these evil creatures to dismantle the minimum wage law.
But there is a way for our government, if they would start acting like OUR government to at least level the playing field a touch.
If they would start taxing these large corporations and even the smaller ones in a fair and American like equitable way then at least we could make these giants pay for their anti-social acts.
Stop subsidizing big oil; stop allowing tax breaks for companies who send jobs out of America; Scale back gerrymandered districts designed to screw the average human; stop allowing partisan State and Local lawmakers from blocking citizens from voting; and start being real!
Hard working veterans such as my dad would be spinning in their graves if they knew how poorly our current legislators are treating their children and grandchildren.
If big business, hell any business cannot pay their workers a fair wage then they have no right to be in business!
And any CEO or just plain owner who pulls so high a salary out of the company at the expense of the backbone, the workers of that company, who were a major reason he was able to make that money in order to buy his next BMW or corporate jet while his employees are applying for food stamps deserves to be placed in a jail cell.
It's about time to make my dads statement a reality for the average American worker so that when he or she is asked how are you doing, they can finally and proudly say, "I make a living!"

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Find Your GGA

You will face many problems in your lifetime, some easily solved and others daunting but none will be quite as fraught with dangerous pitfalls and life altering situations as deciding how much of a gift to give the honoree at an affair.

Now you might be tempted to think this is just going to be a bit of fluff, a way to fill paper or waste time but trust me if you don’t give the right amount you will be marked for life!  You may become a pariah among your peers; an outcast cast out of formerly friendly circles. They will point at you and talk behind your back.  You will lose friends and family members will shun you on holidays.

Okay it may not be that drastic but you get the point.  And to that point let’s breakdown the parameters involved.

Of course there are many different types of affairs but all have one common denominator, the family or families hosting the event have the firm belief that this is the singular most important thing to be happening in the universe on that day and the entire world should take note!  And if you do anything to ruin, mar or even just stain it, well look out.

Now I don’t mean to say that you must be racked with fear and lose several nights worth of sleep over this question but some consternation will arise and it must be met with logical and analytic thought.  You must discuss it carefully with your spouse to be certain you are both on the same page.

And to help you along your way I offer herewith your guide to the age old question, “How much should we give?”

Before I can answer this you must answer a few pertinent questions.
Is the affair a wedding or a Bar/Bas Mitzvah? (Bat Mitzvah for you annoying nouveau Jewish types)

Is it a lesser ‘look at how wonderful my kid is’ affair like a sweet sixteen?

How about a pretentious ‘I want an extra gift’ one like an engagement party or a baby shower or dare I say it, a divorce party?

I will leave the last two up to your discretion and deal only with the first duo on the list.  So for these major parties, the wedding or B-Mitzvah the questions are:

Is it a friend or relative?
Is it a close friend or close relative?
Do you like the relative?
Will your child be having a similar event in the near future?
Did your child have a similar event in the near past?  If so the question becomes nearly moot as you will see a few lines down.
Will you be going to said affair?
How many of you will be going?
Did they invite your kids?
Are you a kid?

And perhaps the single most important question in deciding how much to shell out for this obligation, did anyone having anything to do with this event ever come to a similar event you hosted and did you hopefully keep track of their gift?

Oy, so many questions, so many variables, so little money, I mean time?  What’s a potential guest to do?

For one important piece of the puzzle I turn to my teacher, my hero or rather heroine, my mother may she, well you know.

I still have a loose leaf binder filled not with women as some may own but rather nearly endless lists, lists of gifts. A gift list registry of what every attendee at every milestone event ever paid for or hosted by my parents gave.

Yetta and Seymour didn’t have much but they were such generous kind souls. The cousins gave too little as a group!

I can see how much my parents received when I was born, technically not an affair although many did attend a cutting age event seven days later, ouch!  And rather than gifts you might be tempted to call them tips but please don’t. Again ouch!  I did have my first taste of wine though so it wasn’t a total loss, just a partial small one.

But again this self-help post is more about major parties held at a Temple or catering hall rather than regular birthday parties and such so back to the point.

You will be forever judged by your gift, at least by the recipients.  And lest you think size doesn't matter, when it comes to money nobody walks and trust me everybody talks!

Give too little and you are a cheap so and so.

Give too much you’re a show off, tempting fate’s evil eye, kina hora, poo poo poo

So what is the GGA, ‘The Goldilocks Gift Amount?’

Bonds have always been popular but remember everyone knows a bond is really a way of giving less while seeming to be generous.  It’s a way of saying I have your gift and you can have it in ten or so years.  That’s because a $100 bond only sets you back $50!

‘So that’s it, a bond?  What cheapskates!
It’s still a hundred dollars.
When? When is it a hundred dollars? When he’s married?  And did you see the gown she was wearing?  I bet she only wore it 2 or 3 times.
And that necklace, what a fortune that must have cost!
The necklace was fake!
Fake shmake, those pearls were real.
No they weren’t, none of them matched.
MEN! Suddenly you’re a Polynesian diver? They’re not supposed to match. THAT’S HOW YOU KNOW THEY’RE REAL! Meshuganeh!
Alright, so we’ll give $50.
What are you nuts?  Want to look cheap like them?  They gave $100, we give $100.
But you said…
A bond, a $100 bond!  We have to give a $100 bond also.
SO I have to go to the bank…
Such a hardship.   To save $50 you want to stay home?  Get a bond!’

When it comes to an amount to give that has meaning many choose to go with multiples of Chai, the Jewish symbol of Life.  The numerical value of said symbol is 18 and therefore some may give that or $36, $54 etc.  Of course it may get awkward when the event calls for $200 and you write a well intentioned check for $198. What, it’s eleven times life for crying out loud!

Suppose it’s a wedding and the bride’s family is not from the same city as the groom?  The heads of the two families will then have to fight it out behind the scenes and decide which city wins the event.  Think it’s easy?  Think again.

We recently witnessed a wedding in Seward Alaska near the bride’s family home.  The groom on the other hand had his family fly in FROM BUFFALO, NY!  Of course given the choice between those two places the herd of Buffalo didn't balk too much.  And we all know which side of the nuptial bed will be wearing the pants in that new family!

But if no one can win the geographic tug of war or the soon to be newly-weds have their hearts set on that tropical beach or mid-western farmhouse as their venue of choice you have what’s now commonly known as a “Destination Wedding” on your hands.

This is a particularly interesting event in that it causes no end, or seemingly no end of angst among all involved with the possible exception of the main couple who cannot fathom why everyone wouldn't want to come and join them a mere round trip ticket away from home.  It also generally means that the Machatunem have loads of gelt!  And you are now faced with loads of guilt!

Do you go or not?
Is the destination a place you’d like to visit?
Can you afford the time and expense of the trip?

And remember the costs of getting there, the hotel room or rooms, and the time off from your ever demanding job and subsequent loss of salary cannot be included in or rather deducted from the gift.  Although the aforementioned extras do weigh heavily on your mind and bank account and tend to taint your thoughts as you write the check and stuff it into the envelope possibly wrinkling it just a bit in defiance.  “I hope they notice!”

The hosts know that a destination wedding will cut down on attendance and perhaps they are counting on that to allow them to lower the number of dinners they must guarantee the caterer.  Of course the caterer who was not born yesterday or even seven days ago, ouch, knows this as well and ups his price. This causes the hosts to hope you will up yours as well. The gift I mean.

And that brings us to another consideration all must use, the assumed approximate cost of the affair in question.  You generally want to cover at least the cost of your meal at any event you attend.

If you are being invited to an outdoor affair at some park in the afternoon or a ‘rec room’ in the basement of an apartment building you might be tempted to drop the amount a tad.  After all the family didn't have to pay all that much to set this thing up did they?  So why should I empty my bank account?

But if that’s your modus operandi be careful. You may be invited to the fancy shmancy Waldorf Astoria!  It’s nice to attend such a hoity toity affair but understand the couple will be expecting fair compensation for their parent’s outlay!

And speaking of expectations a subliminal message from the inviter to the invitee on how much they expect you to fork over for your knife and fork use at din-din is that tiny 3 word phrase at the bottom of the invitation – Black Tie Optional.  This is naturally to be translated as Black Tie Preferred.
Or worse, you might be hit with the more pretentious and simple, ‘BLACK TIE!’  This one is like blatantly saying “if you have to ask how much to give, YOU CAN’T AFFORD IT! But give it anyway.”

In either case give too little you are cheap but give too much and you are showing off (look how rich we are) and once again tempting fate (poo poo poo.)

Now lest you get the idea this is just about one group of people or one religious denomination let me assure you similar thoughts are agonized over in most others.

In some areas of the world the question might be, ‘is one mule enough or should we give Sister Sara two?’

In medieval times the king or local ruler had a special gift he bestowed upon a bride, every bride, in private.  I wonder if they both had a smoke afterward.

Different ethnic groups today have different ideas about gifts for these events. Some routinely give actual physical gifts they feel will be needed in future life.  For example some may bring a toaster or food processor to a wedding.  The hosts are aware of this and even set up gift tables to receive these bulky items.  Of course a $100 check could buy a toaster and still have enough cash left over to buy some bread to toast.

A small splinter group of Italians (fictional or otherwise and not generally meant to signify all of them - poo poo poo) made famous on TV shows or films like The Godfather, Scarface or the Sopranos also give cash but in a slightly different denomination than your normal guest.

“Here Don Clendonian I brung you dis envelope what I stuffed with cash from my latest encounter with some locals to help your lovely daughter and her soon to be member a da family business if you get my drift as they start on deir journey trough what will be a beautiful and long life togeda as husband and wife and have many wonaful healthy offspring.  I want you should call on me if dis is not enough or I should do something more for dem or for you in da future.”

Gifts of ten to twenty thousand dollars were not unheard of but anything too small and the gift giver himself might be unheard of again!  Fuggedaboutit!

Again whatever your ethnic or social background is think hard and find YOUR GGA.

Now suppose you are not sure if the venue is a top notch one or the quality of the caterer is unknown beforehand?  Then I suggest the following.

While some people like to send a check and card early so they don’t have to carry it you should not.

My advice is to carry the gift check and card to the affair in an unsealed envelope and carry an extra check made out to the honorees but without an amount written thereon ready to use just in case.

If you don’t get ptomaine poisoning and the band or deejay does not cause your eardrums to explode then seal away and leave in the comforting knowledge that you have done the right thing.
But if you spend your time looking at your watch, visiting the bathroom, and stuffing your ears with tissue paper you will be so happy you carried a replacement check.
And whatever you do don’t forget to remove the first check.  Trust me if you seal the envelope with both in it, both will be cashed.  I know I would!

Whatever decision you make remember yours will only be one of many gifts and their total will not come close to paying for the entire event which has often been likened to buying a new car and driving it off a cliff.  So try to enjoy the affair, after all you paid for the right!

Because finally understand this one universal truth, no matter what you give the recipient will send you that ‘Thank You very much for your generous gift’ card all the while jotting down the amount received in their binder and thinking you could have given more you cheap bastard!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Humans as Fractals

First let me offer a few words about fractals and also this link should my explanation not be to your liking.
Fractals is a word that should be closely associated with the word fractions.
The science of fractals suggests that all things take on a similar look when a fraction of them is viewed closer and closer and closer still.
For example a coastline as viewed from outer space will show many inlets, outlets, craggy points and offer a generally ragged look.  If you were to view just a small portion of the same coastline, say a one tenth fraction you might be surprised to notice the same features as the original view.  A further diminution of the new coastline view will offer another similar view.  Keep moving closer by a factor of ten and you should be rewarded with similar rugged looks all the way down to the molecular level!
In fact if you placed a view of the molecular level alongside that of the original outer space view you might be surprised at their overall similarities.
Fractals also appear in nature in the veins and structure
of a leaf.

But how about human nature?  Can we find fractal similarities in groups of people?
I argue that the same is true about the ins and out-lets of the human animal, at least when viewing financial wealth from a safe and lofty outer space-like perch.
Let's look at the tremendously wealthy, the uber wealthy, the top one tenth of one percent of Americans.
Here you will see a group of people who jockey for position and power versus each other nearly all the time.
They do this almost without realizing it as one might prepare breakfast or pick up a newspaper to read.
And they do so for many reasons not the least of which is sport but also for increased power and more control over their personal environment.
Left alone they will continue to move in the same way constantly looking for more money and more ways to get more money.
What will they do with the increased wealth?
It doesn't matter, it's all part of the game.
These people hardly notice any of the fractals below them. But they should since  without there can be no wealth!
Let's move down the financial fractal chain by an order of ten and view the extremely wealthy or so-called one per-centers.
This group of people will not live long enough to spend half their massive fortunes yet they too jockey for position versus their peers in a never ending struggle to move ahead.
Their constant desire to 'win' also eggs them on for more money and more control of their sheltered environment.
They are somewhat aware of the group above them but pay them less heed than the group just below as those are to be shunned and feared as social climbing wannabes.
In their own circles or rather bubbles they act very much like the obscenely wealthy only a bit less so.
Still they have problems that keep them up at night such as, 'How can we afford to buy a second yacht and next to which home would we moor it?'
Take the next move down the food chain with another fractal drop of ten percent and view now the upper middle class, the nouveau riche, the 'well to do' working class.
This group has made it, as far as they are concerned but nevertheless still maneuver and think and plan on getting further ahead.  They include groups such as snowbirds, who have a home up north perhaps at a ski resort and a winter home in Florida or some other warm clime.
They are the ones usually thought of when using the phrase keeping up with the Joneses.  They would love to move up but they too are more aware of the groups below and sometimes feel it is their duty to keep the division and distinction alive lest others move into their neighborhood.
You all know the ones they mean!  Better sell now before it's too late.
And the next leap, or rather drop of ten percent brings us into the heart of America, the bulk of the working class, the steady sturdy middle class.
This former backbone of the country now finds itself being used as fodder by the groups above.
It is the largest populated group in all of fractal land.
If the upper fractals can take just ten dollars from each of the people in this group it would add up to massive amounts for them.  And surely no one would miss ten dollars a year, would they?
The inhabitants of this middle class fractal are also constantly jockeying for position with regards to their friendly fractal neighbors.
They realize how close they are to being dropped down a fractal and have recently all but given up on hopes of rising up and out.  With them it's all about keeping the tide from flooding their coastline and sending them into ruin.
And this brings us to the lowest fractal of all, the molecular level if you will of feared financial fractal-dom, the poor. They are also known as the needy, the indigent, the homeless.
This group with the least is feared the most by all fractals above it.
Yet they too only wish to make their environs livable and jockey, albeit at a much slower pace for morsels and pennies to help them eat and survive.
There will be scuffles in this group since human nature exists in all of us.
They must get ahead of others to survive another day.
And just like the creatures on the sand of an ocean beach who may never see the big picture their universe consists of the immediate.
Many fight over a few square feet of a sidewalk living space or a cardboard box in which to sleep.  Some covet a well trafficked street corner from which to beg for donations from higher fractal passers by.
They go mostly unnoticed by society.
Every fractal above this group uses them to some degree to stoke the fires of fear and promote the 'there but for the grace of God' feeling they hear or preach to others.
Each group has a NIMBY attitude toward the lesser fractals.
But we are all basically the same with the major difference merely being the size of our bank account or the lack thereof.
And just as the coastline viewed from outer space knows nothing of it's molecular sized fractal the top financial fractal group of Americans spends little or no time thinking of the homeless.
Yet once again remember that without the lower groups these people would not have their cushy lifestyle or even exist.
A wave crashing onto the coastline cares not for the sands it causes to disappear but perhaps it should.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Republicans Must Not Hold America Hostage Any Longer

According to the Stockholm Syndrome if one is held hostage by an evil person or group long enough the person may start to exhibit protective tendencies of one's captors.  In fact after a while a strange sort of irrational love may even develop.
Once set free the hostage must seek or be afforded psychiatric help to return to a normal productive life.
For the past 6 years America has been held hostage by the Republican Party and too many voters are exhibiting the same mental defect described above.  They are answering polls showing how much they would vote for the same Republican party that blocked any and all progress in America all the while blaming President Obama.
And just like a kidnapper who brainwashes a child into believing his real parents deserted him and do not love him anymore they have convinced their base that the President is not only at fault but not even an America citizen or worse!!
Polls show that Congress has a favor-ability rating less than that of gonorrhea or root canals so why would any sane, rational human being listen to them let alone vote for them again.
Perhaps the answer lies in the question itself and the words sane and rational.
Is it possible that the majority of the Republican base is so consumed with hatred and sublimated racism that they are willing to believe anything bad said about the President to the point of voting against their own best interests?
The answer to that is a resounding yes!
We have seen this happen over and over again and even read about it in a now famous (or should be famous) book by Thomas Frank.
In Florida, that wonderful State that gave us the hanging chads, Kat Harris and appointed a President that did not win the majority of votes we are now witness to a Governor with a terribly low approval rating leading in the polls due to $26 million worth of negative ads about his far better and more deserving opponent.
Generally when a candidate ONLY runs negative ads it's because he has nothing positive to say about himself. That could not be more true than in this race between a generally hated awful Governor Rick Scott and his 'for the people' foe Charlie Crist.
Neither man is a saint but then they are both politicians.
However when push comes to shove Mr. Scott is awful and deserves to be shown the door as soon as possible!
And speaking of awful, in Kentucky it is quite possible that another member of the hostage takers may hold his seat in Congress even though he has said publicly and in private that his entire agenda is to hurt the President and keep America down.
He will stop us from doing anything for at least the next two years and affirmed his affections for the anti-social Koch brothers and their bribe money with a treatise of love and promises to help them increase their massive fortune! (If you can sit through the recording of his promises to the Koch billionaires click the link above.)
He aims to block any regulations aimed at reining in business at the expense of the environment and human lives!
And this creature is leading in the polls?
As for the President's foreign policy is it so terrible to think about all the consequences of bombing other countries and starting or entering a war before actually doing so?  Haven't we been there done that already?  And aren't we and the World still paying for the rash ill-advised behavior of the previous war mongering administration?
Who died and made the United States the sheriff at the O K Coral?
If the President can make his case to World leaders and have them join us thus spreading the responsibilities as well as the costs are we not all better off?  Do we wish to send our young men and women into another far off battleground?
We have already been through two World Wars.  If the World cannot come together to squash small factions hell bent on global destruction in the name of some absurd religious belief then shall never have World peace.
Think of what a united Planet Earth could accomplish if testosterone driven machismo, personal greed and religious zealotry could be relegated to an embarrassing footnote in the annals of history.
It may be naive to think this could happen but at least I am not giving in and falling for my abductors!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Koko is More Human than Cuckoo Rush & Friends

Most of the World was saddened by the passing of Robin Williams.

I say most because it turns out there are always those who for reasons of their own use events like this for publicity or to promote some sick personal agenda.
These sick people are usually considered to be low-life animals by the rational community.

But we must now rethink how we assess these cretins and not call them animals or compare them to creatures of the wild.
And the reason for that is simply Koko!

Koko is the World famous gorilla who understands the spoken word and can use sign language to communicate her thoughts and feelings.

Humans like Rush Limbaugh have shown their small minded hate filled souls by criticizing anyone they disagree with and claiming people like Robin Williams die because of their liberal political views.

Some even picket the funerals of good people in order to promote their hate filled agenda. I am of course speaking of the, uh people (?) of the Westboro Baptist fake church!
Just after learning of his death

But when told of the passing of iconic funnyman Robin Williams Koko's lip quivered!

Trying to put the loss of
her friend into perspective
Then she sat depressed with her head on her chest for hours mourning her lost friend.

Koko must have been remembering her time, 13 years ago when she spent an afternoon with Robin chatting about things.

Maybe we can all learn a little humanity from Koko.  What do you say Rush?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Walgreen's Relents

Good for you Walgreen's - And I apologize, for now!
Obviously I cannot take full credit, or any for that matter for the decision on the part of Walgreen's to keep their headquarters in the States and not hide from US taxes but perhaps I added a small amount of impetus.
They may still hate America but at least for now they have to grin and bear it!
We must be diligent and hold these giant corporations feet to the fire.  They want the profit and prestige of being an American company without giving an ounce of anything back!
When any company pulls the same tactic we should make sure the entire country is aware.  They have grown to their current world renown stature on the backs of the American taxpayer and must contribute just like everyone else here.
After all, they're people aren't they???

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Actually the title is not completely true. What the giant drugstore chain hates is paying any bills owed to America, including taxes.

They announced earlier this week that they may be
moving their corporate headquarters out of our country and into a lower taxing environment in Switzerland.

While the move will naturally save them a bundle of money it also sends a clear signal to all the other corporations still based in America.  Hey jerks, you don't have to pay taxes here.

Of course many already hide profits and don't pay taxes while others actually have the balls to claim and receive kickbacks from Congress in the form of subsidies.

When was the last time one of you received a nice subsidy from Uncle Sam while reporting a taxable income?

And to rub a bit of salt into the already wounded body of Illinois, from where they will be slithering away, the tax payers of that State gave Walgreens $7.5 million dollars in tax credits and incentives to stay a few years back.

I understand a tax incentive now and then that is made by one State or another in order to keep the company from moving to another State or woo it to come in but leave the country?  You don't want to be here then we don't want to have you at all!

So I have one question for citizens across America, regardless of what State you call home.
If this giant does in fact leave America - Considering all the places you at which you can shop or pharmacies in which you may fill your prescriptions will you continue to reward a store that has told you to drop dead?

Friday, July 4, 2014

Dolly's Prayer

The shepherd is my guard, I shall not bleat
He taketh me to lie down in green pastures
He leadeth me to drink still clean waters
He restoreth my sole when it aches
And sets me on the right path to his namesake farm
Yea though I sometimes walk through valleys out of breath
I will fear no bad outcome
For he is with me
His rod and staff of border collies comfort me
He preparest a dinner of grass and clover while fox and wolf watch
And shears my wool when it runneth over a cups worth
Surely goodness and friendship will be with me all the days of my life
And I will dwell and forage in the land of my shepherd forever.

Monday, June 16, 2014


Before you read anything into the posted photo on the right (and the right is definitely where the photo belongs) let me say that I truly have nothing against anyone rising to the top of their particular food chain and earning a great living.  We all strive to better ourselves and when we do we should not be looked upon with disdain or hatred.
Now of course most of us are human and as such we are always looking at the other side of the fence wondering how that guy keeps his lawn so much greener than ours.
But suppose we found out that our green-thumbed neighbor was actually stealing our seeds and fertilizer every night to pepper his field.
I make no determination as to how these gentlemen rose to the top of their unnecessary group (single payer would obsolete these vultures) but one still wonders.
But please do not think the pharma industry is the only one raping our coffers.
Bankers will not be in need of a telethon anytime soon, especially after we infamously bailed them out at the end of the Bush era. (error?)
Of the top earning bank CEOs the least compensated made $3.3 million last year and the average compensation was nearly $20 million.  (Looks like someone is going to demanding a raise!)
So let's juxtapose other Americans against the backdrop of the sweet elite of the pharmaceutical and banking industries and see how we're doing by taking a few items from the news.
(Click the title of each section below for the back-up and more articles on each subject.)

  1. Student Debt:  Over 70% of college seniors graduated with nearly $30,000 in student loans which cannot be forgiven in bankruptcy.  Before you can really get going many have to finish their schooling.  And in order to do so you may have to pay an awful large sum of money to the institution of your choice for that education.  Unlike other more civilized countries in the world where they realize their young are their future and they subsidize their college years we treat our young as annuities for the ivy covered halls of higher learning institutions.
  2. Living in Poverty:  One in Seven American is living in poverty!  That's over 46 million humans and it's the largest number of people in that undesirable sect in over 54 years!  While some are living high off the hog they seem to be doing so by hogging all the high profits from their businesses while allowing their employees the pleasure of scrounging around the sty for the remains.  And on top of that they are getting all the tax breaks the rest of us can only dream about.
  3. Minimum Wage:  The CEOs of America are doing very well thank you but too many are surviving, if it can be called surviving, on a meager $7.25 per hour.  Okay many States are realizing the futility of trying to eat and keep a roof over one's head on that tiny amount and have raised their local wage minimums up but there are many, mostly of the Republican persuasion who are trying to persuade legislators NOT to raise the minimum wage as it will kill businesses and jobs.
  4. Unemployment:  While it has gone down under the leadership of President Obama, yes that's right, under his watch the rate is still an unsatisfactory 6.3%.  Sadly this doesn't tell the whole story and while many a pundit will point to this number as proof of a growing economy a more telling number would include how many are so discouraged they no longer even look for a job.  And the best number to show how dismal it is even for those WITH jobs is
  5. Household Income: During the twelve years from 2000 to 2012 the median household income fell 6.6%.  Take a moment to let that sink in.  In 2000 the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a high of roughly 11,700.  It hit a new high of 13,350 in 2012!  While that's only an increase of 1½% the Dow has since hit 16,800 at which time it sported a nearly 4½% increase.  The bottom line is while Wall Street and it's Dow Jones top earners are topping their earnings almost daily average Joes may be scrounging for their next meal.  And speaking of households - 
  6. Foreclosures:  While the foreclosure rate has dropped overall many States are still way above acceptable levels.  And 1 in 96 homes are foreclosed on and 19% of all homes are deeply under water financially.
  7. Homeless Veterans:  An argument for a National embarrassment could easily be started with the fact that many of those who risked their lives for our country come home to trade their military rank for the pleasure of joining the ranks of the homeless.  Of the 634,000 homeless people in 2012 over 62,600 were veterans.  And that brings us to - 
  8. Unemployed Vets: This number is even higher than the National Average.  Those who fought our wars from 2001 forward are considered Gulf War-Era II Vets.  Their rate was around 9% in 2013!  Uncle Sam wants YOU! That is until we don't anymore!
  9. Women's Health:  There are so many articles on how women's health issues are under attack that it was hard to choose just one article to point to in the above link.  You may 'Google' on your own and spend weeks reading all the fun stories of 'right wing' elements in America forcing Planned Parenthood clinics to shut because they may use the word abortion, a procedure which by the way happens to be currently allowed by law.  Coincidentally the following Republican majority States have placed rules and regulations on the people who run women's clinics that would make a sailor's hair turn white:  Louisiana; Texas; Oklahoma; Iowa; Oregon; Washington; Kansas; Wisconsin and the list is not even complete.  And finally - 
  10. Voter Rights: While all the above abuse has been going on we in America still have one trick up our sleeve, the right to vote out the bad leaders and elect ones who will better serve our interests.  That is if we can get to the polls and actually cast our ballot!  Knowing how dangerous an educated electorate could be it is no surprise that certain factions within the government and the lobbies that own them wish to keep the status quo, quo by placing more and more road blocks in our way as we attempt to vote.  Leading the charge to disenfranchise those among us who have had enough and simply will not take it anymore are: Texas; Ohio; North and South Carolina; Florida; Arizona; Alaska; Louisiana; Mississippi; Georgia; Virginia and Michigan.  Scott Walker of Wisconsin wanted desperately to join the list but went too far and the courts overturned his unfair voter ID law.
I guess when you look at all the things our leaders are doing to us rather than for us we really DO need these unbelievably rich pharmaceutical giants, just to get pills to ease our pain.
If only the damn co-pays weren't so high!