Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Seniors and those in need of assistance were recently informed that the annual Cost Of Living Adjustment, COLA will not go into effect this year. That means that anyone collecting Social Security will not get the tiny raise in benefits they have been getting at the start of next year.
The reason COLA will not take effect according to the government is, simply put there has been no inflation and therefore no need to for increased payments.
But at the same time Medicare premiums paid monthly by many of the same people not getting a COLA on their Social Security will rise by as much as 53% next year or from $104 to $159.30!
The reason given by the Republican controlled House of Representatives (remind me just exactly who do they represent?) is rising healthcare costs.
Those two statements are obviously at odds with each other but neither the first time nor the last time anomalies such as these will be used against the middle class.
On Long Island the energy industry friend Long Island Power Authority, LIPA is allowing and about to implement a rate hike of 9% over the next three years.
They claim this is necessary due to a shortfall in the budget caused by a drop in sales tax revenue.
By the way the reason the sales tax revenue is down is because Long Islanders cannot afford to buy as much as in previous years due to lower incomes and rising costs.
The American Association of Retired Persons, AARP says LIPA is using ‘fuzzy math’ to make their case.
All the arguments used by those in power sound legitimate when taken by themselves but when put together start to smell of lies, greed and corruption.
In college logic courses they teach syllogisms which are generally two or three statements put together that sound logical but will cause the listener or reader to pause and think, wait what?
For example:
The American buffalo is a vanishing animal.
That animal is an American buffalo.
Therefore it is vanishing!
Or one of my favorites:
News of Russian aggression is no news.
And since No News is Good News,
News of Russian aggression is good news!
Business owners started using the double standard tactic a while ago too.
They claim no raises will be given because business is down and the economy is terrible.  They also moan about the increased costs in health care as reasons for dumping more of the costs on the individual.
So the worker gets less money in his/her paycheck but has to use the less money to pay for higher healthcare costs etc.
But what costs are going up?  Surely they’re not salary related since no business is giving raises so what is causing this?
Could it just be general inflation?
No, that cannot be because inflation is so low that those on Social Security will not be getting a COLA!

The bottom line is if you can figure out two sides to any financial story and you want to feed the information to the public use them both but make sure the middle class gets the short straw!

Monday, October 19, 2015


We are all familiar with an oxymoron or two, (click to link) or perhaps fifty.
The ones we readily know are simple terms likes jumbo shrimp or the Great Depression.
But there are hidden ones that we hear all the time and fail to notice their inherent absurdity such as Government Intelligence.
Here are a few more modern ones:

LIPA – Long Island Power Authority – which has none or chooses not to use it if it does!

NIFA – Nassau County Interim Finance Authority – Which again has none and doesn't seem to care!

Pro-Life – Well, not all life, just the ones we want to be 'Pro' for. This group opposes the Pro Choice movement and chooses life only for an unborn fetus OVER THE LIFE OF THE MOTHER! (Their name should be changed to NO CHOICE!)

The Heritage Foundation – Whose? A group that cares not for America’s heritage but only that of a few wealthy anti-government regulations wealthy business owners.  Understanding that the America we know was founded and built by aliens and slaves so to deny that fact would be to deny our heritage!

Family Research Council – The name implies they are looking into all things that make up families when in fact they are interested only in families of traditional white Anglo-Saxon heterosexuals (preferably with lots of money!)

American Family Association - Very anti-Founding Fathers’ idea of an America free from religion in government they advocate a full return to the bible as law! They should remove the first word from their name or add ‘Church Going’ after it.

Citizens United – Who are they kidding? Clearly this group usurps all the power it can from the hands of the average citizen by making sure money and only large sums of it controls government. The 'citizens' they speak of are corporations which, contrary to morons on the Supreme Court ARE NOT PEOPLE!

Eagle Forum – The symbol of America is the Eagle so using the bird’s name in their title makes you think they are 100% for America! But they advocate NO government in their lives. They don’t have a clue!

Freedom Works – Sounds like a good thing except when you realize they want total freedom from taxes which would basically de-fund America! Oh, and like most Conservative groups they are against the Environmental Protection Agency since it costs money to operate. They’d rather die from pollution with money than give a little back so that all Americans could live longer! In essence the way this group uses the term freedom does not work!

Legal Reform – This is advocated by the US Chamber of Commerce and sounds fair, but a look at the agenda proves otherwise. The group wishes to remove all litigation against big business so that they can run roughshod over individual rights and pollute as they wish in order to create more wealth for themselves and their friends! It should say illegal reform.

Any GOP led Hearing: The current controlling political party in Congress has made a habit of making believe the hearings they convene and investigations they fund are legitimate when in fact they are complete farces. The witch hunts they utilize are meant only to bolster their power over the majority of the country and ensure their reelections.

And finally two of my personal favorites that need no explanation (but I will comment nevertheless):

Jews for Jesus (If you are then you are not!
and the most obvious oxymoron in America today,
Fox News.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

One and Done?

For many years I have been saying that I do not kick someone when they are down.  I try not to gloat when I win or if my team beats your team because I realize that the pendulum swings both ways.
As a lifelong New Yorker I have rooted for only two baseball teams, the Brooklyn Dodgers and after the desertion to Los Angeles the Mets.
During the 50’s I endured taunting from fans of that other team in New York, no, not the Giants who also fled NY for the warmer climes of California. (By the way we can all thank that rat bastard Walter O’Malley for not only taking Dem Bums away but also convincing Horace Stoneham to take his Giants out as well. Also complicit in this slap in the face to NY was Robert Moses who wouldn’t work with O’Malley on a new stadium. http://mentalfloss.com/article/55491/why-did-dodgers-and-giants-leave-new-york
The dominant team in the area was the Bronx Yankees.
Ever since they threatened Boston with bankruptcy if they did not fork over their only good player at the time, Babe Ruth the Yankees have wheeled and dealed and used their extraordinary wealth to keep winning.
They basically bought any good player they could and never cared if there were performance enhancing drugs used as long as the player could help them win. (Rodriguez, Giambi, Pettitte, Clemens...)
This is in no way sour grapes on my part nor am I the only one who saw what they wealthy owner of the team was doing as evidenced by this 2003 story from The Onion.
There were bits of luck involved in many of their games such as the play by Jeffrey Maier that allowed the team to win a game they would have lost.  They went on to win the World Series but would not have even been in the fall classic were it not for the umpires missing (?) a clear violation of baseball rules!
But I digress.
From the mid 1950s when my dad took me to Ebbets Field until the stadium was abandoned in 1958 I was a staunch Bums fan. Five years later I transferred my allegiance to the new National League team at Shea Stadium.
And whenever the Yankees beat either team I would hear my friends explain how much better they were and how my team basically sucked. I had to hold my anger but my dislike of the Bronx team grew steadily into a hatred of all things Yankee.
I couldn’t stand that people actually rooted for a team that stacked the deck in their favor or seemingly had the pool of umpires rooting for them.
But throughout the lean years for my teams I continued to be a fan of the underdog.
And when the Mets finally had their first winning season and improbably went on to win the 1969 World Series I was overjoyed!  I did not throw their success back at any Yankees fan.  I did not even notice that our Bronx rivals finished under .500 that year.  It did not matter.
But I do recall many Subway Series games where the Mets lost and the fans were taunted as followers of a second class baseball team.  Some of otherwise nice friends were in that group.
So let’s now fast forward to the 2015 season.  Note that both the Mets and the Yankees were picked to be mediocre by the so-called sports experts.
However both teams were relevant for the entire season and both teams made the playoffs.
As this is being written the Mets are in Los Angeles to play the Brooklyn defectors (they will always be that to me just like they were “the bastards” to my grandfather who despised O’Malley more than you can imagine.)
The winner continues on in the playoffs.
The Yankees are licking their wounds over being shut out by the Houston Astros in the American League Wild Card game.
Both teams had surprising seasons so the fans of both teams should be somewhat happy.
Mets fans realize they are still the underdog against Los Angeles not to mention a long shot to win the World Series.  It sure would be sweet and we root but we're realistic and we have a young team!
But the difference was apparent when the Astros made the final out in yesterday’s elimination Wild Card game.  The fans at the stadium booed their team off the field.
One group of New York fans appreciates a good effort while the other demands only the championship.  Nothing less will be tolerated.
And so I will not taunt or gloat or say anything derogatory about the Bronx team other than, Nice Try guys.  Wait till next year!

And Let’s Go Mets!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Statistics for the USA - 1910

A friend sent this to me and I find it fun and semi-interesting.  I am assuming it is true but make no proclamation as to the veracity of all the so called facts below.
Never the less read and enjoy, life in the USA in 1910.

Male life expectancy was 47 years.
Fuel for this car was sold only in drug stores.
Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.
Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
There were only 8,000 cars but only 144 miles of paved roads.
The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower!
The average US wage in 1910 was 22 cents per hour. (The Republicans want to get us back to this level as soon as possible.)
The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
A competent accountant could expect to earn $2,000 per year.
A dentist earned $2,500 per year and didn’t complain he or she had to go through a middle bastard such as an insurance scumbag for permission to charge his fee and get paid.
A veterinarian earned between $1,500 and $4,000 per year.
A mechanical engineer made about $5,000 per year.
More than 95 percent of all births took place at HOME.
Ninety percent of all Doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION.  They went to so-called medical schools.  Many of these were condemned in the press AND the government as 'substandard.'
Sugar cost four cents a pound.
Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.
Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.
Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
There was no such thing as under arm deodorant or tooth paste.  (There still isn’t in many parts of the world!!!)
Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason.

The five leading causes of death were:
1. Pneumonia and influenza
2, Tuberculosis
3. Diarrhea
4. Heart disease
5. Stroke

The American flag had 45 stars.
The population of Las Vegas Nevada was only 30! (Mostly gangsters I assume.)
Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented yet
There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day. (A good thing as far as I am concerned!)
Two out of every 10 adults couldn't read or write and only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.  (If we could get back to this level of education the Republican Party would never lose another election!)
Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help.
There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE U.S.A.!
(Yes, people have changed and the NRA is extremely happy about that!)
You may now forward this to someone else without typing it yourself.
From there it will be sent to others all over the WORLD in a matter of seconds!

Try to imagine what it may be like in another 100 years!!!

Thursday, October 1, 2015


"How'm I doing?" was a famous question posed by then Mayor Ed Koch of New York.
He was fine but for the rest of us it's a different story!
So before we send up our votes and elect more of the same let’s have a quick look at the economics of the last 20 years or so.
No matter what they say or how they spin it spending went up under Republican Party leadership and 90% of us fell behind the other 10%.
Under their control the speed with which the wealth gap between the dwindling middle class and the wealthiest 1 or 2% increased has been remarkable.  It is close to the point where we may never get back our former mojo!
The Democrats, while appearing to be on our side have not been all that effective.
While the Republicans have steadfastly blocked many of the things Democrats wanted to put in place they often meekly gave up trying.
Clearly some things on the Obama agenda have gotten done, not the least of which has been the Affordable Care Act.  But no one can deny the hate this engendered from the party of the ‘right.’  They have repeatedly wasted tax payer dollars voting to repeal a law the helps every living being in America this side of the elite 2%!

So let’s get down to some actual numbers.


Despite the recent drop in price gasoline averaged $1.11 per gallon in 1995.
The most recent average price as of this writing for a gallon of gasoline is $2.28.

Health Insurance Premiums:

In 1999 an individual was covered for just over $2,000 and the family for around $6,000.
This one is tougher to explain but since employers are figuring their costs into your salary the overall cost of health insurance should be considered.
Obviously if employers did not have to pay as much they might offer workers a raise.
Sadly there are very few of those around.  That said the average health insurance costs are just over $8,000 individual and more than $28,000 for a family!
And some other invisible costs we all take for granted that were hoisted upon us by the greedy and totally unnecessary insurance industry:
·         Co-Pay
·         Co-Insurance
·         Deductibles
·         Lifetime Payout Caps
·         In / Out of Network Demands
·         And the old right of first refusal of any claim made regardless of veracity!

Auto Insurance Premiums:

Every region is different and drivers’ age also enters into the equation but can anyone say without fear of successful contradiction that the prices have not gone up, WAY UP?
            In 1995 you could get a year’s policy for, let’s say $1,000.
            In 2015 you would be lucky to get a policy for $1,000 FOR SIX MONTHS!
Auto insurance, like all other insurance has figured out many ways to get around price increases that annoy customers. For one why wait for the end of the year when 6 months in you can redo the entire thing and gouge people?

Homeowners’ Insurance Premiums:

Just as in auto insurance it is hard to compare apples to oranges so I will use someone close to me for the numbers.
            In 1995 a modest Long Island home was insured for under $1,000.
In 2015, after switching 3 times to get a lower rate for the same house the insurance was up to $2,300 and it no longer included things such as flood insurance!
Once again an insurance industry figured out a way to charge more while adding fear to the mix.  People used to be covered for floods but once it became a possibility due to climate change, a fact denied by so many of our leaders, they realized they could remove it by merely saying it was never mentioned! Does the word scumbag come to mind?
The fact is your home’s value has not gone up nearly as much as the cost to insure it!  And not too many insurance companies, if any will tell you that you are over insured and heaven forbid if there was a disaster you will never get back what you think from the bastards of the industry that calls itself the Peace of Mind people!
Check out how much your replacement value is and then call your agent to lower the value and save a few pennies!!


In 1995 major NY bridge tolls were at an already too high cost of $3.50 each way.

In 2015 they have jumped to $8.00 each way and the hints that they will have to rise shortly is not altogether a welcome threat.


The Long Island Railroad fares have increased steadily with service lagging since records have been kept.
In 1995 depending on how far you had to commute into New York City your fares for a one way ticket were between $3.00 and $15.00.
Today those fares are between $8.25 and $28.25 with another 4% to 9% increase possible within a year or two.


Costs for a normal household more than tripled from 1995 to just 2011! Imagine what the numbers will show when tall the data is in for 2015!
                        Eggs cost $1.15/dozen then - $3.00 now
                        Milk cost $2.50 then - $4.10 now
                        Stamps were 32¢ and are now 49¢.


I will let you place the price you now pay for items that used to be free.
Broadcast Television
All Radio, especially in your car
            Water in your home








The fact is the wealthy and the business owners and basically the Republican Party which kow tows to anyone with money has sold out the Middle Class to the point of absurdity!
Normal humans can no longer hope for a bright future in America for their children.
The American dream has become a total nightmare and no one is on coming out to stem the tide.
I do not know what the future holds but I can say if these numbers continue in this direction America is truly doomed.
I hope the wealthy 1 or 2% can get someone to do their bidding because the rest of us will either be dead or have moved to some country that actually cares about human beings!

In conclusion and in light of the above I must add one major intangible item that has gone up!
But the cost of this one comes not in terms of money but rather hypertension, road rage, violence, and extremist views caused by the right wing drumming their mantra into the heads of the susceptible weak minded and under educated masses.


·         It’s the fault of the illegal aliens!
·         No, it’s the fault of the Muslims!
·         No it’s those damn liberals!
·         No, it’s the fault of the gays and lesbian
·         Why do we have to allow same sex marriage?
·         No, I think it’s the all the abortions!
·         No, its groups like Planned Parenthood!
·         And the list goes on and on while the politicians stoke the fires and get rich doing so.

How can the direction America has taken since the days of Reagan be changed?
Is it possible to reverse the effect our growing oligarchy is having on our lives?
While hope may spring eternal our life span is not.  So we need solutions now.
For one we must reduce the control of wealth on our government and return it to the people for which it once stood!
A good start would be the repeal of the unbelievably wrongly named ‘Citizen’s United’ ruling.  This must go down in history as one of the worst decisions ever made by a Supreme Court.  But then again it is a Conservative leaning court and one that has no trouble screwing the average human!
And we must stop thinking of corporations as human beings! THEY ARE NOT!!! END OF STORY!
Voting rights must be returned to every citizen and those who wish to impose poll taxes must be prosecuted and if found guilty lose THEIR rights!
We must work toward true health care for all citizens and push for a ‘single payer’ system so we can join the rest of the civilized world!
Industries that have shown themselves to be poor stewards of the Earth and human rights must be regulated and harshly punished if they fail to meet our American Way standards.  As a couple of examples of which ones need to be scrutinized look at the insurance industry and of course the fossil fuel groups.
Elected officials should all have term limits, none to exceed 8 years.
No campaigning should be allowed until 75% of the current position’s term has been completed.  In other words there shall be no campaigning for the next President until the 3rd year of the current President has been completed.
The things that are wrong with our country can be fixed if everyone would just educate themselves and seek out the truth. The internet uses a protocol known as URL to find what you are looking for when you surf the web.
You should use URL as your mantra in the following way:
Understand – Read – Learn!
We are all in this together.
As Ben Franklin once said, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall hang separately.”