Thursday, April 07, 2011


The Worst (and Last) Congress in the History of the United States

The United States is about 28 hours from a planned shutdown of "non-essential" federal government services and operations. More than anyone can expect from the newly-annointed Tea Party members of the House of Representatives will prove, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the current government of the United States is completely invalid, illegitimate and undeserving of any support by any member of the general population.

Over the past 10 years, since the inauguration of George W. Bush as president - actually, appointed by the Supreme Court, and his second term a stolen election - the United States federal government has done nothing to benefit the general population of the nation, and the Obama administration, with the willful assistance of the Republican party, has carried the rhetoric and action to the extreme.

In the rawest sense, the United States of America no longer exists as a sovereign nation, but rather as a cleptocracy centered on Wall Street, with no interest for the common good of the nation and incapable of carrying out even the most rudimentary duties of governance.

It is ironic that the supposed "freedom fighting" Tea Party members of congress would be the very ones to tip the nation over the edge, for we are truly at a crossroads. By ceding control of the functions of government, the current congress and the president are in no small way ceding control of the government, abrogating their powers and should have their feet held to the hottest fires on earth. They have abandoned all logic, all sense of decorum and any small shred of decency they have left in their bones.

Once the senators, representatives and the president pass this rubicon of budgetary necessity, they should be barred from re-entry into their abdicated seats of power. even if they re-instate themselves, their dictates, laws, regulations and authority should be hitherto ignored and rejected. The American people are as good a people as there is in the world, and they are more than capable of carrying on the orderly conduct of a civil society without the intrusions of a mad, maniacal band of rogue agents in contradiction to the constitution.

Let the fools walk away. Let the government cease to exist. Let the chips fall where they may, but know you this, all those who entertain thoughts of ruling, leading or governing: you have lost the people and the people will rise up against you and smite you, for you have shown yourselves to be powerless squabblers with no plans, no future and no right to rule.

The hours grow short. There is probably already no time left. Those who claim to know what is best, those who have oathed to serve their country, have left it in a state of great disrepair from which they cannot rescue it.

When the clock strikes midnight on the 8th day of April, and the government - by its own decree - discontinues operations, mark that moment as mere hours before the dawning of a new day in America, one which will progress without the burden of illegitimate caretakers.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


The Brighter Side of Radioactivity

Watching Wolf Blitzer talk to former Supreme Commander General Wesley Clark earlier today, I had, thanks to a short smoke break, something of an epiphany.

I laughed at the notion of square-headed Clark being called "supreme" anything. I looked him in the television eye and chortled, as, in the back of my mind was the apparition of a nuclear grim reaper, glowing bright orange and blue, as it were, turning all around him into an uninhabitable, unthinkable, gruesome cataclysm, complete with disformed, tortured humans, screaming for relief, death, anything to halt the searing, invisible heat that was melting their skin.

And there was fire all around, everywhere fire burning and destruction.

Clark, in all his "supreme-ness" and all of his allies in the military, government, business and politics are puny adversaries when compared to the totality of nuclear winter, death to all and no escape.

It was at that point that I became truly free. I looked upon Clark and the powers that be as nothing, mere pawns in the larger scheme, and any fear of them had vanished.

The larger enemy of radiation, invisible, deadly and persistent, dwarfed their machinations of power and supposed superiority in every imaginable way.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010


Oh, The Humanity! Cartoon Peggy Noonan Meets the Press

I am fairly certain that Peggy Noonan is not a human being. She is a cartoon character, a Hanna-Barbera inspiration miscast as a political analyst, which, in cartoon-land, must be something like living in hell.

To deserve such a severe fate, Noonan the cartoon character must have committed some kind of cartoonish crime, like not breaking into tiny pieces when hit with an anvil, or not churning her legs at whipsaw speed before actually running, or, and I believe this was cartoon Noonan's crime, acting too much like a human being.

In cartoon-land, of which I know little, acting too human is probably cause for erasure, but Noonan somehow survived the wrong end of the pencil and lives on in our human environment, somehow. And the Sunday news shows love her. Usually reserved for ABC (that network owned and operated by a cartoon mouse), she suddenly popped up this week on Meet the Press. Could it be that Peggy has been banished from cartoon-land or did she somehow leap off the page and land in the lap of some enterprising publicist?

Whatever the case, the penciler did a masterful job of superimposing Peggy's cartoon image onto the MTP set. I must say, you could barely detect the normal flickering cartoon movements, though one cameraman or show producer is going to be fired for showing the blank stares of the other columnists while she was (supposedly) talking. Bob Shrum, Mike Murphy and Jonathan Alter were variously shown staring vacuously into space during some of Peggy's voice-overs, like she wasn't really there at all! I think they got Julia Louis Dreyfus to do Peggy's vocal work. Nice job, but keep the camera on the cartoon next time, guys.

Peggy the cartoon-character limped through the discussion without making any salient points, which, you've got to believe, is the point of her being on the air in the first place. The networks have long-believed that the American public can't handle the truth. That's why they have roundtable discussions with people (and cartoon characters) who don't matter. They spout gibberish, which is just peachy-perfect for Peggy.

For instance, when moderator David Gregory asked her about Obama and leadership, prodding her to compare him to Reagan - something she simply could and would never do - she said, "the President seems different from his party," about as profound a pronouncement as a cartoon character could utter.

When asked about the upcoming Senate Judiciary confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kegan, Peggy conjured up images of Robert Bork being hanged (more about that below), but must have done some Googling before the show as she made a reference that "Oliver Wendell Holmes would not be confirmed today." That's a dubious call, though Peggy gets credit for bringing up the obscure and opaque.

On anti-incumbency, another topic about which Peggy knows nothing, adding to the case that she's not really human, Gregory called on her to dissect the Arkansas democratic race, where Blanche Lincoln faces a tough primary. Peggy, always aiming for a cheap shot on the president, said, "he stiffed her," and added that Lincoln "does not have the part of the party which needs to be on fire, on fire."

Note to Peggy: Your hair is burning!

After chuckling though MTP, I needed a little more convincing, so I checked for Peggy's latest writings and, sure enough, she didn't disappoint.

What has me convinced that Peggy is actually a cartoon character gone rogue is that she writes opinion columns for the Wall Street Journal, the paper owned by that bastion of fairness and equanimity, Rupert Murdoch, who, over the years, has morphed into a caricature of himself.

I was happy to find Peggy's most recent column in the Journal, which was promoted on line with the tag: "Noonan: The Lamest Show on Earth" complete with comic strip picture.

I thought when they mentioned "lame" the Journal editors were talking about Peggy. Alas, the column was about the coming Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, to whom Peggy swiftly, and without explanation, applied the "liberal" tag. But, that's just Peggy's way of keeping close ties to her dead hero, Ronald Reagan, and continue her 23-year lament for Robert Bork.

A few of Peggy's choice lines from her current monograph (with my comments):

"Ms. Kagan needs and deserves a tough and spirited grilling..." - of course. She's a liberal, after all. (This is just Peggy's first instruction to the Senate.)

"...even dead trees have a place in the forest." - obvious reference to Reagan.

"The Senate Judiciary Committee in 1987 took everything Judge Bork had ever said or written, ripped it from context, wove it into a rope, and flung it across his shoulders like a hangman's noose." - keep the flame alive, Peggy!

"There should be and needs to be a vigorous, rigorous grilling of Ms. Kagan." - Second call. All aboard!

"his [chief justice John Roberts] testimony was among the more lucid of recent years." - shamelessly self-serving.

"It would be nice if Ms. Kagan were given the opportunity and responsibility to answer tough, clear, direct questions." - strike three, Peggy. You're out.

I used to think that Peggy Noonan was a vampire, released from the crypt following a 20-year, post-Reagan snooze, but she's too old and silly and girly to be a vamp. She's a cartoon character, I'm totally sure.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010


The demise of eBay, Spankings and Naughty Pictures

Editor's note: I posted this on the Seller Central message board at eBay, in response to the hundreds of thousands of sellers who are experiencing massive reductions and pageviews and thus, sales, essentially firing them from jobs at which they have worked hard for many years.

eBay, in the infinite wisdom of its CEO and leader, John Donahoe, has blundered to the point of extinction by moving all previous store listings onto the main auction site, thus flooding the system with a remarkable load in excess of 120 million items. Additionally, on or about April 1, they decided to allow items with a starting bid of less than $1 to be listed for free, resulting in even more junk and garbage being shown in their horribly flawed "best match" search results.

The exodus away from eBay has begun, and it's only a matter of time before the former auction colossus will be brought to its knees and eventually destroyed by from the inside, by the team of Harvard and Stanford geniuses who don't quite grasp the internet, the middle class or how to run a business.

Much of this is written in a kind of code. see if you can figure out what the other auction sites are.

Being a formerly good Catholic, I have to confess.

Bless me Father Donahoe, for I may have sinned.

I listed 20 items a week ago. One was a naughty magazine with a picture of Cindy Margoilis in it. She apparently lost her bikini top. OOOPSIE! Boy, is she hot, Father Donahoe.

What's that? Yes, I still have the magazine. It only got one page view over 6 days and I think that one was mine.

Huh? For my penance I must bring you the magazine? Well, OK, but I have other sins to confess.

I went and tried to sell some of the same items at a RANCH. A big ranch, not a Bonzai ranch, much bigger. The people there were very nice. I haven't sold anything, but the atmosphere is much better than here at the Church of the Diminishing eBay Lights. People are friendly and it's free to list stuff. So, that's a sin, right?

No? But it's a policy violation? And you're going to spank me?

Well, I have committed other sins. I sold some things from my own website and I know that you and your really, really smart friends have been using the term "web site" - two words - for many years, even as I kept telling you it was one word and now the AP has finally agreed that it's ONE WORD, you dumba$$.

So, Father Donahoe, you see, I've been using "website" since 1998 and I have proof. This shows that you and your friends aren't really that smart after all and the Church of the Diminishing eBay Lights is really just a big money grab for you and your Wall Street scumbag friends.

You should all go to prison for cheating hard-working Americans (and even those lazy ones) out of their money and their goods by lying to them about "improvements" which are really just big blunders and "fee reductions" which are actually fee increases, and for not allowing people to link to their websites and for splitting Playboy into Adult and regular auctions, and for not allowing downloads and electronic books and other non-tangible items to be listed on your WEBSITE, and for allowing sellers only to leave positive feedback and making feedback percentage indicative of just the past year, and for all the other stupid, moronic, insipid, petty things, like Best Match, DSRs, investigations, pink slaps, bans and favoring buyers over sellers.

Sellers pay the fees, Father Donahoe. We are your customers, NOT the buyers. Well, let me say, we were your customers, because we're all leaving and going to the MOON, or to the BIG RANCH that rhymes with Costanza, or maybe we'll just take a trip down the BIG SOUTH AMERICAN RIVER.

So, Father, I am confessing, but you and your people need to 'fess up, too. And, no you can't spank me and I'm not going to bring you any naughty magazines to look at. I'm going home and listing them on other WEBSITES, you LOSER.

Amen, amen. I'm feeling much better now.

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Thursday, December 03, 2009


Valerie Jarrett Is Really Bothering Me

OK, I watched the President (Mr. Obama) on the tele today, promoting his "Jobs Summit" complete with call outs and who-dats and other useless nonsense. The idea of getting a whole bunch of diverse people together to work on how to get more jobs for more Americans is just such a total canard.

If the feds were really serious about creating jobs, they'd do what they do best: hand out money to employers and let them hire people. Of course, that would be too simple and probably unproductive, but the benefits in graft and corruption to the cronies on the inside would be enormous. Considering that, it's a wonder that they haven't done it already. Billions for jobs; millions for US!

Anyhow, while the "best and brightest" are schmoozing on and about Capitol Hill, there's a nagging image which keeps reappearing on CNBC (I know, I know, but I really do need the steady dose of humorous interludes only mindless economic reporting can provide). It's one of Valerie Jarrett, the wunderkind of the White House, the jazzy superstar of the formerly underprivileged, the she-bop superstar who fell neatly into the job of Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Liaison, which is a really fancy way of saying, "I do nothing constructive."

This image of Ms. Jarrett (BTW: she was married, now divorced and apparently available, though you'd have to be pretty rich and pretty self-important to land a date with her, I believe) comes around just about every hour or so, and it's making me crazy. In the short clip, Jarrett is on some podium, where, presumably, she had just spouted some drivel, and says, "If you have an idea about how to create jobs, I want to hear it."

Well, if that don't beat all. Here she is with her degrees and her too-long title, asking for ideas about how to create jobs. It's annoying on a couple of levels. First, what she has to do with creating jobs in the USA would probably fill a corner of one tiny room in the basement of the Executive Office Building, but I guess she's there representing for the Prez, as intergovernmental explorer extraordinaire or some such nonsense.

Second, if one were to offer her some truly constructive idea that would lead to the creation of a job in America, I doubt that Ms. Jarrett could possibly conceive of how it might work. After all, she's spent almost all of her life behind the shield of public employment, that safe place in America where 40% of the population actually makes a living doing things that aren't necessary to anyone.

I just can't look up to her as an authority on anything, much less job creation. Maybe "saving jobs" which the government has subtly substituted for actual job creation, because they can't do the real thing, would be more in line with Ms. Jarrett's qualifications, as in move this line item to another part of the budget and save this or that job. That's how they do it at city hall, the county office, the state level and yes, all the way up to the White House (I still like Paris Hilton's idea to paint it pink).

Ms. Jarrett really bugs me, not because she's cute and successful (though those would be two good reasons), but because she's such an obvious fraud in a town full of them. Not just Democrats or Republicans, but all of the people in DC are frauds, taking public money and wasting it, mostly to pad their own already well-fattened wallets.

If Valerie Jarrett would like some ideas on how to create new jobs, let's start with the obvious. Cut payroll taxes. Reduce the cost of unemployment insurance. Pay half of newly hired employees' pay right out of the government's own coffers for the first six months. Make it easier for employers to hire people, like reducing the interminable amount of paperwork, costs, fees, taxes and all the other mind-blowing additions that turn a $9/hour job into $15.

How about this one, and the liberals will love it: Roll back the minimum wage laws to $5.25 per hour for new hires. Believe me, you'd have employers falling over themselves to hire people. Or, better yet, keep the minimum wage laws in place, but stop taking social security and medicare from both the employer and the employee.

Small business in America needs a break from taxes and costs. We are non-competitive because of all the taxes and regulations that have turned our free markets into a socialist Turkish bath. Are you listening, Valerie Jarrett? Or will you continue to bother me?

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Friday, April 24, 2009


Evidence of Shrinking Intellectual Capacity

First, I'd like to think that these two women stole my idea - the power of small numbers - but their book, The Power of Small is likely to prove otherwise, as I'm 95% sure that they could not come up with any fresh ideas. As a matter of fact, the kernel of an idea is, in itself, a very small thing, but the people who actually will look down upon this attempt at "new age" junk philosophy are the practitioners of Taoism, for it was the founder, Lao-tzu (c 604-c 531 bc), who said, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

If any more proof is needed that there's a sucker on every street corner waiting to be taken by snake oil salesmen - or, in this case, sales women - watch this segment from the Martha Stewart show below, all the time reminded that Martha, the mistress of pop culture, will give air time to any woman who has even the spark of a marketable idea.

OK, not to be snarky, but I'm not even going to read their book or mention the authors names, as I'm fairly certain they won't be making any "world literature" lists (I may not either, but that's another matter), but I will link to their blog, where they offers gems of wisdom, like, you can save money by using coupons. Oh, yeah, they also have some links to online coupons, as though nobody ever heard of those before.

Of course, they are twittering, jumping on all the fads, making the talk show rounds and raking in the cash. These women are quickly becoming my inspiration, because if they can take a concept as simple as small and turn it into a book and make money off it, hey, why not me?

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Maybe Associated Press Needs Mercy Killing

Watching this moron - CEO Tom Curley - from the Associated Press (AP) (shown at right) on the Charlie Rose show flail about over "who's going to pay?" for AP content, and then he brings up Iraq, and somebody needs to take this nutjob out back and beat him senseless, telling him that maybe, if your so fu**ing superior news gatherers were doing such a bang up job, we would never have gone into Iraq, and maybe we wouldn't have the financial mess we have today, you greedy, self-indulgent priggish little whiner.

The problem with the AP moaning about people stealing their content is that it's hardly worth it, since most of their "breaking" news is morphed over the internet in minutes by hundreds, if not thousands of news sites and blogs. What Tom Curley is complaining about - if I'm getting the message right - is unauthorized use, not FAIR USE, which allows for derivative works based on the original story, but I think he's angling for some of the AdSense pie, via Google, because he keeps channeling traffic, which is a whole different story.

Here's a snippet from CEO Tom Curley's April 6 statement (here's a link to the content and, I suppose, UNAUTHORIZED USE OF YOUR WORDS, SO SUE ME!):
In the past year, we shifted resources to business, real estate and economic coverage at the right moment to deliver comprehensive and continuing coverage of the biggest story in a generation.

Like I was saying, the AP wants to cover the news of the financial meltdown, but maybe if its reporters were doing real investigative journalism, they might have been reporting on the massive amount of mortgage-related fraud as far back as 2002 and 2003. So, now, they take credit for "following" the story, but it's the usual, dull, packaged boring read for which the AP is famous.

Oh, and I can't resist this:
At the same time, we delivered on another presidential campaign and vote count and found a way to increase coverage of celebrities to feed the growing demand for entertainment news.

OK, Tom, only every single media outlet in the world was covering the election, so what made your coverage so special? And what happened to that vote count in 2000 and 2004? Do Florida and Ohio ring any bells? Dimwit! (Sorry, I simply cannot comment on the sublime irony of taking credit for making celebrities more famous.)

Here's an idea, Mr. Curley: If you want to be paid well, try doing some good work!

The real problem lies in the fact that the lifeblood of the AP, their 1500 newspaper licensees are falling over like dominos and that directly affects AP's bottom line and their ability to function as a going concern. Beyond that, the AP is so overtly politically connected and establishment they cannot be trusted as an objective source. They have grown too elitist and this latest whining episode is just another reminder that they feel deserving of being treated differently. They are asking the readers of the world to respect and pamper them. Sorry, boys, ain't gonna happen!

Sure, they have bureaus in 240 countries, and that's all well and good, but there are newspapers, web sites, bloggers and ordinary people with cell phones, i-phones and laptops who are out in the real world suitably equipped to report on anything that even smells like news.

AP's biggest problem is that technology has outgrown their revenue model and now they're whining about it. Claiming to be the oldest news-gathering organization on the planet is probably as good a reason as any to euthanize the old dog now, before it starts making messes on the carpet and drooling on respected guests.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009


Meet the Press Scripted: Political Discourse is Dead

A few weeks ago, on my blog which focuses mainly on economic issues, Money Daily, I coined the term, Post-Government Era, to describe the public backlash at increasingly overwhelming government control, dictates and policy. Already, a number of instances of the backlash have surfaced on the public landscape - various "tea party" protests, the indictment of six upstate New York lawyers who failed to file state income taxes, and a slow trickle of civil disobedience actions from Bangor to Phoenix running across the political and demographic plains of America have confirmed that regular Americans are fed up with the burdens of massive federal, state and local government, their regulations, taxes and attitudes.

On Sunday's "Meet the Press" the government's response was clear in a well-scripted and rehearsed "interview" between host David Gregory and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. The discourse began with a basic economics lesson, complete with charts and graphics, explaining how "securitization" works and how it is essential to the smooth functioning of the American banking system. Following that little treatise, Geithner and Gregory continued - at a pace which allowed for no follow-up or intellectual inquiry - on to another instructional session on why Geithner's Public-Private Investment Partnership (PPIP) to get the toxic (securitized) assets off the books of the nation's largest banks (BofA, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, is the "best" solution for investors, bankers and the general public.

This trite, insipid attempt at justifying spending trillions in taxpayer money to keep the structurally-flawed mega-banking system afloat also included a terse reply by Geithner to NY Times economics opinion writer Paul Krugman (also a Nobel Prize winner) criticism that the Geithner plan was just a rehash of former Secretary Paulson's bad bank ideas with new frills, gee-gaws, bells and whistles.

Geithner's response was so forgettable and lame - and quick - that I actually forgot what he said. Nonetheless, it was pure gibberish and Krugman, who carries water for nobody, is still correct and in good company. As with the previous administration, this one, the one which promised to work from the "bottom up", is surely continuing the policies that got us to this point, with a "top down" approach that favors banks over individuals, institutions over individuals and protecting the status quo over real, fundamental change.

By this dumbed-down, completely-scripted interchange, it's become more than obvious that the press is on board with the administration and the overall dictates of the massive federal system. To take the nation's most widely-watched Sunday talk show and turn it into an infomercial for federal financial reconstruction is more than pure fascism at its unholy worst, it is nearly a return to feudalism, replete with all the trappings of monarchy, class structure and mostly, dictates from the pulpit of officialism, with the formerly-free press serving as a megaphone for the federal government.

To make matters worse, Meet the Press continued the charade with, instead of the usual roundtable discussion, the discussion continued with the inarticulate and largely-emasculated John McCain (drill, baby, drill), to prepare the nation for the "blood and treasure" losses about to be sustained in Afghanistan and at the Mexican border.

Americans have had their minds warped by years of inappropriate Bush doctrines and their savings eroded by globalization and the banking and stock market meltdown. Whether the public is ready for the reinstitution of "perpetual war," further erosion in their individual rights and economic freedom and total control by the distasteful characters in congress and on Wall Street is not in doubt. We have been primed and readied for the final assault on the middle class: extreme taxation, political unaccountability and a widening of the police state structure.

We are ready. Most - those who haven't already - will submit to the feudal federal will. Those with a smattering of grey matter still between the ears will either flee or fight. The runners will be stopped at the border or banished to outliers not of their choosing. Those who stand and fight will likely be slaughtered by the hand and the gun paid for by their very own labor and taxes. And, with the rapid destruction of the nation's newspapers, the press is being downsized along with the expectations of Americans.

We are a lost nation now. Democracy is merely a facade by which the government can continue to con the public into a false belief that America is good, and free, and just - somethings it hasn't been in many years. There are only two ways America can proceed: we will either submit and suffer, or reject and repel the forces of government. With the mainstream media firmly on the government's side, the odds are set against us.

This is not a partisan issue pitting Democrats against Republicans. Rather, it is the purest of class struggles, with the tiny-by-number but great-in-power ruling elite of Washington, Wall Street and the media against 300 million regular folks, armed to the teeth not with pitchforks and torches, guns and ammo, but with cunning, wit, deception and non-compliance.

In the words of the worst American president in history: Bring it on.

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Friday, February 20, 2009


Time Out for File Extensions

Have you ever wondered what those letters after the dot on internet and computer documents meant and didn't know where to look?

Well, geeks, robots and people with waaaaaay too much time on their hands can now find out at File Extension Library, where more than 1000 of the odd-looking and oddly-spelled acronyms are located, easily identified and defined. Also, the site offers useful information on the proper use of such files and how to open them.

For instance, we all know that .jpg or .jpeg stands for Joint Photographic Expert Group, don't we? It's the most common extension for photos posted on the internet.

Some are easier than others, such as dat which signifies a data file.

Then there are ones like flv, which is the common expression for a Flash Video File.

So, whatever you like, there's surely a vob, plsc or swf for it. Figure those out and you can either amaze your friends or become an instant hit at the next Star Wars exposition.

Monday, February 09, 2009


Corrupt Pols #1: GOP Chair Michael Steele

This is the beginning of a new series which I feel necessary to write as we slide quickly into an economic depression brought about by the continuance of the most corrupt government ever to exist.

Clearly, there will be opportunity to unmask most of the corrupt pols who populate positions of power from the local to the federal level in America.

Let's get the ball rolling with newly-minted GOP Chairman Michael Steele, a black politician from the city of Baltimore, Maryland, who is accused of misappropriation of campaign funds, stemming from his failed Senate run in 2006.

Steele was the first African-American to hold statewide office in Maryland, winning the Lieutenant Governor position in 2002.

For a completely cynical take on this story, in which Steele is accused of paying money to a catering company run by his sister (nepotism is nearly always a tell-tale sign of dishonesty) which had earlier been dissolved, consider that Steele was recently named Chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Having campaign contribution issues hanging over him, Steele can now be easily manipulated, as surely there are other skeletons in his closet. For the most intense side of cynicism, consider the fallout when the media begins to attack "party leaders" Obama and Steele - both black men - for the ills of the nation.

One has to wonder just who is running the government, the KKK or the John Birch Society. Maybe both.

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Sunday, February 08, 2009


Talking (Clown) Heads Agree on Stimulus Stupidity

Of the various positions and postures taken by the talking heads (mostly congress-people) on the regular Sunday morning shows, two very intriguing arguments emerged:

1. Nobody knows whether the current plans (separately by the House and Senate) will work.
2. Almost everybody agrees that "something must be done."

At some point, one has to recognize that these two positions - in a real world, say, business - cannot peacefully coexist.

In business, if a manager or group of managers were to approach the executives of a firm with a plan that they said they were unsure about, but that they felt should be implemented immediately, they'd likely be fired, or at least, ignored and castigated.

Sadly, the American public isn't afforded the opportunity to veto the government's massive "stimulus" plan, now hovering somewhere between $780 and $825 billion, depending on which version - House or Senate - one studies.

What's even more disconcerting is the sheer size of the proposal: a stunning 760 pages in the House version, with more added and amended by the Senate. One can safely assume that nary a Senator or Representative has read the entire bill. That would take and average reader a couple of days. Our "busy" legislators don't have that kind of time, but they'll likely go ahead and pass this monstrosity next week.

The most cogent discussion on what would actually stimulate the economy was on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopolous," largely spirited by three fellows who are notably NOT elected or administration officials: George Will, Robert Reich and Newt Gingrich.

Between them, they correctly postulated that the most immediate stimulus to the entire economy - done with alacrity and efficiency - would be to make deep cuts in broad tax grabs, specifically payroll taxes, social security and medicare contributions and capital gains taxes.

Cutting the payroll tax, which affects a huge number of workers, would be easy to do and could be immediately implemented. Somebody - I don't know who, but I believe it was a government regulator - said it would take three months to rework the payroll tables. There's the typical government cop-out on why our leaders won't do what the American public wants and prefers. It's a straw man argument when one considers that the stimulus plan currently under debate will take anywhere from 6-24 months for the effects to be implemented.

It's also a huge lie. If the government wanted to reduce payroll taxes - even on selected income levels or at varying amounts by income level - it could issue such a measure within a week's time, simply by informing tax preparers (businesses) of the percentages, i.e., 50% off this level, 30% off this level, etc.

Besides, most of the nation's tax deductions are handled by computer, or by the major companies which have made a business of dealing with the complexity of the federal and state tax codes, Paychex and ADP. The adjustment to lower deductions would be painless, simple and hugely beneficial, putting more money into the hands of citizens, instead, as Mr. Will pointed out, as part of the government taxing and regulatory system that "wants to do the spending for you."

There has been a great deal of discussion about how effective the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) will be in stemming the loss of jobs and creating new ones. Frustrated at not being able to find an appropriate breakdown of the major spending in the bill, I found some hint of where the money is going in a Wall Street Journal article, entitled A 40-Year Wish List.

On the sidebar, the Journal breaks out $265 billion in what is mostly "welfare" spending on medicade ($81 billion), food stamps (20 billion), extensions of unemployment insurance ($36 billion) and COBRA insurance extensions ($30.3 billion). Color me blind, but I cannot fathom how shoving additional billions into these programs is going to translate into jobs.

A number of private economists have called this stimulus package a big mistake. You can clearly count me in that camp. It's a bloated, unwise, excessive spending program that will likely make matters even worse by failing to address the actual problems in the economy and bandaging over them with more handouts.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


I am Cold

I just did something I've never done before. I deleted something I wrote because it was offensive to somebody. I feel somewhat dirty. Well, considering the circumstances, I guess that's OK. But, I hope I never do it again because I say what I mean and I mean what I say.

And to all of you reading this, and you know who you are, yeah, I'm not happy. But, you know what. I will be. And you'll be what you are.