Monthly Archives: December 2013

Give us this day, our daily waste…

This will be a continuing addition to my posts where I will highlight some of the wasteful spending on the part of the government.

Got to give props to Jason, RN, ‘Doctor J’ as I usually call him. A conservative, a straight shooter and a stand up guy. This was his idea when I showed him my site.

In my previous post I linked to Rep. Pelosi stating that there were no more places to cut. I guess she thinks we are running as lean as we possibly can.  Hmmm, let me see…

Excerpt from page 1:

“Washington has reversed the wisdom of the old cliché that less is needed when less is wasted. Every branch of government bickered this year over the need to spend more (while continuing to misspend) with an attitude of “waste more, want more!”

Confronted with self-imposed budget cuts necessary to trim years of trillion dollar shortfalls, Washington protested that it could not live within its means. It attempted to take hostage the symbols of America to exact ransom from taxpayers. Public tours of the White House were canceled and Medicare payments for seniors’ health care were cut.

While the President and his cabinet issued dire warnings about the cataclysmic impacts of sequestration, taxpayers were not alerted to all of the waste being spared from the budget axe.
The Department of Defense (DOD) developed a plan this year to constrain pay and benefits for our brave men and women in uniform, who risk their lives to protect us from terrorists, for example, while at the same time continuing to pay the salary and other government benefits for the Fort Hood shooter, responsible for the worst terrorist attack on American soil since 9- 11

DOD grounded the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels, yet still spent $432 million to construct aircraft they never intend to fly.

The Army National Guard spent $10 million on Superman movie tie-ins while plans were being made to cut the strength of the Guard by 8,000 soldiers, the real supermen and women who fight for truth, justice and the American way.

As the Smithsonian was closing exhibits at its world renowned museums, the federal government was funding the creation of “play zones” at the National Museum of Play, an inventory of toys at the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys, and a website celebrating romance novels.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cut housing assistance for the disabled elderly while subsidizing thousands of risky mortgages, including more than 100 homes (that cost in excess of half- a-million dollars each) within walking distance of the ocean in Hawaii. And while nutrition assistance was being reduced for many needy families, USDA was spending money on celebrity chef cooks-offs and running up the taxpayer tab on Bloody Marys, sweet potato vodka, and red wine tastings from here to China.

The Department of Interior was counting sheep with high-tech unmanned aerial drones after delaying the opening of some national landmarks and closing others early.”

Yes, Ms. Pelosi, there IS a Santa Claus. Just not for us.
 

 

 

A Nancy Pelosi nursery rhyme

Short one here. Senator Reid in an interview says that people WANT to pay more taxes but the Republicans…

Rep. Pelosi pulls her old mother Hubbard routine regarding the bare cupboards. I wonder if she recalls the precise verbiage of the nursery rhyme?

“Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard
To get her poor dog a bone;
But when she came there
The cupboard was bare,
And so the poor dog had none”

Rep. Pelosi as Old Mother Hubbard

Granted, the rest of the rhyme indicates an ongoing interlude between them but I seriously doubt Ms. Pelosi knows the story. No matter. The part everyone does remember is that her poor planning left the cupboards empty and the dog hungry. Soooooo, is that how she sees the American populace? Her pets waiting dutifully for her return to feed us? Subsisting off her table scraps? Is she trying to toss us a bone to keep us happy?

Taken in conjunction with Mr. Reid’s statements, we have no problem with making up Mother Hubbard’s shortages. Sounds like another recipient of an entitlement program.

Sen. Reid says WE want to pay more taxes

 

 

Rely on YOURSELVES, not the Government

We have seen numerous press conferences where the recurring Democratic theme was along the lines of “pass MY stuff or lose programs YOU care about” and the carrot on the stick is currently “Police, FireFighters and Teachers” in no particular order.   As an aside, last night I was listening to a debate/discussion on a New Hamshire radio station (iHeartRadio) where one of the candidates for Mayor let that expressional snipet fall from his mouth like the proverbial manna from heaven…I mean, it rolled off his tongue seemingly without thought. This was a segment where the discussion was why the Mayor should get paid 37K or something in that neighborhood for “doing nothing”.

Why would someone say something like that?  This was a conversation, not a scripted press conference.  He was not reading from Cliff’s notes, a teleprompter or had some Attorney whispering in his ear.  Is this some default program that gets auto-run or auto-repeated like my music playlist ANYTIME they speak?  Is this the current catchphrase that is supposed to evoke some deep rooted primal fear in Homo Sapiens?  Like an aversion to snakes, spiders and used car salespersons? As the “punk” in Dirty Harry  asked (5 shots or 6…) “I GOTS to KNOW!” This cavalier attitude whereby a Politico thinks they can push our buttons by uttering the right phrase REALLY irks me!  Okay, politicians irk me. Guilty as charged.

The “party line” officials know that we have a predilection for those particular groups.  No need to expand upon that.  Like lemmings blindly marching off the cliff we go with the flow and then piss and moan about ‘them DAMNED politicians’ when we are to blame for not taking responsibility for ourselves.

In a Pacific NorthWest community, they were overly reliant on federal timber subsidies to the tune of 7.5 million bucks annually. The Feds own 70% of the land in Josephine County, Oregon so this was easy money. When the program was discontinued, the municipality decided to make up the shortfall by attempting to raise taxes…‘or else’  they would have to curtail services. ‘Go ahead!’ said the populace and voted down the levy. The municipality basically gutted their Sheriffs department, released prisoners and issued a statement ending essentially in ‘if you are in a dangerous situation, relocate to a safer area’. (paraphrased)

Sheriff’s Department decreases operations

Citizens then formed several watch groups, established a training curriculum and maintained watch for the ‘ordinary’ community events that Officers would no longer respond to. Local government equated their citizen action to the George Zimmerman case in Florida as a faux warning that only trained officers can handle these situations.

The beauty of this whole thing? This dates back to the Spring of 2013! I could see if this was a month-old event or ‘just’ happening but this has been going on for the better part of the year and NOTHING BAD HAPPENED. The world did not end, it continued to spin on its’ axis and orbit the Sun. Life continued and there are those who are not only shocked but dismayed that we still have the capacity for self governance.

Apparently, as we found out through the Federal Government shutdown, there ARE non-essential personnel whose services can be performed by local residents. I hate to use the cliche but this is a story ‘they don’t want YOU to know’ because it emphasizes the fact that WE THE PEOPLE can and WILL handle our own business when the need arises. So in this, as in ALL things of importance, you MUST rely on yourselves and your fellows because it has been proven time and time again that we cannot rely on the Government.

Citizens CAN act where the police WILL not

Why are we redefining 26-year olds as ‘children’?

White House press Sec’y Jay Carney on young adults

(Just the first few paragraphs and emphasis added)

“Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney,
12/18/2013
The White House Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 18, 2013

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

12:43 P.M. EST

MR. CARNEY: Before I take your questions, I want to welcome you here to the briefing room for your daily briefing. And first, I’d like to say that today we are highlighting how the Affordable Care Act helps young adults.

As you know, at approximately 2:00 p.m. Eastern, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will meet with a group of moms in the Oval Office. They will be joined by White House senior advisor and chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, Valerie Jarrett. Moms have a unique role to play in helping young adults gain health care coverage. Thanks to the health care law, over 3 million young adults gained insurance because they can now stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26.

Before the health care law, many insurance companies would kick young adults off of their parents’ health plans on their 19th birthday, or when they stopped being a full-time student. For a lot of young adults, that’s the exact time when they need the stability of being able to stay on their parents’ plans because they are transitioning in and out of school or jobs. Now families have the security of knowing that their children can stay on their parents’ plans until their 26th birthday.

The Affordable Care Act also provides new coverage for young adults — new coverage options for young adults who may not have access to health coverage through their parents, their school, or through their employer. Nearly half of eligible single young adults who are uninsured may be able to get coverage for $50 or less per month in the health insurance marketplaces in 2014. And nearly 7 in 10 single young adults who are uninsured may be able to pay $100 or less. In addition, many young adults will be newly eligible for Medicaid, which, in a growing number of states led by both Democrats and Republicans, is expanding under the Affordable Care Act.

If opponents of reform had their way, if they repealed the health care law, millions of young adults who have gained health insurance through their parents’ health plans would have that right taken away, while others would lose access to Medicaid or to tax credits, raising costs for millions of middle-class families.”

Okay, I highlighted salient portions of Mr. Carney’s soliloquy rather than link to it because his opening identifies some inconsistencies, as well as reiterating a tired old refrain.

The National Center for Education Statistics has several age ranges with the last category being 22-24 year olds so I cannot understand the government continually referring to ADULTS in their mid 20’s essentially as children. Granted, in the literal sense we are all our parents’ children regardless our age but this is beyond the pale. What is being asked of us is to consider capable individuals as young, inexperienced and unable to care for themselves without the assistance of their parents or Our Father, who art in Washington.

Government identification of age range for childhood and adulthood

Council on Women and Girls

White House Council on Women And Girls….did not know there WAS such a thing. This was a program begun in Mr. Obama’s first term, within weeks of his inauguration. It seeks to increase the proportion of American female participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). It seeks to correct an ‘inequality’ in gender representation and emphasizes on more than one occasion that Women in those fields earn 33% more than their non-STEM counterparts. I think we need to address the main issue in that primary education, public schools in the USA, do not adequately prepare students for the challenges of the present, much less the future. You got to WANNA learn and you have GOT to have the resources available to nourish developing minds. This makes education a participatory process where they teach and we learn.

Over 3 million staying on their parents insurance til age 26. Okay, we will take that at face value. Here is where ‘bogus’ comes in. We all know it is not so much as what you say but how you say it. Mr. Carney continues on to say that the Insurance companies would ‘kick’ ‘children’ off coverage at 19 or when they ceased being full-time students. I would call that time as when they should be treated as responsible adults and carry their weight.

Here I have a little trouble keeping up with the math. Mr. Carney says that HALF of the eligible single young adults would pay $50 or less monthly in the marketplace. He continues to say that 7 out of 10 would pay $100 or less in the marketplace. My math issue is that if 50% are paying $50, how are there 70% remaining to pay $100? With basic arithmetic skills lacking, it is doubtful we will outperform ANYONE. Or did he mean that the 50% would be paying $50 and an additional 20% would be paying between $50 and $100 with the remaining 30% paying in excess of $100. It would have been simpler and more HONEST to be specific, rather than give us easy-to-digest figures that only told part of the story. More onerous is that we are increasing the Medicaid rolls. Now ALL parents and non-parents are paying for the coverage of those who should have been responsible for themselves long ago.

Next the obligatory finger pointing at the GOP then the statement about the millions that would be left out in the cold should conservatives have their way. I believe the number was THREE million? He said so earlier. We have seen in the last few months that costs are going up for everyone but Washington insiders and their minions (and no, not the cute little characters from the ‘Despicable Me’ franchise). The Affordable Care Act would have to be scrapped for middle class families to actually save that $2500 annually and see their rates go back down. Then again, those plans no longer exist, do they? Damn greedy….ummm, Insurance Companies? Yeah! DEM bums!

BOHICA!

The military runs on acronyms and this is perhaps one of the more important ones. It stands for ‘Bend Over, Here It Comes Again’. Take it any way you want to.

The hastily crafted ‘Budget Deal’ authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wa) purports to set spending levels for the next two years (just AFTER the midterm elections and well into presidential campaigning season), UNDO some of the automatic spending cuts required under sequestration and remove the threat of government shutdown that has plagued an embattled congress for the last few years.

Major issue is that it not only puts the ‘savings’ back into the hands of the big spenders but it seeks to balance future savings on the backs of our retired and disabled service personnel.

When this information was publicized, an ‘amendment’ to the bill was prepared and summarily shot down by the senate. Senate democrats would rather have you believe that this is more House Republican posturing in an attempt to continue their ‘obstructionist’ ways rather than a legitimate attempt to correct a flaw. Without a doubt, the bill as written will be signed by the President and will lessen the retired military benefit increases until they reach retirement age of 62, then adjust again to the then current norm.

Problem: when crafted, did they NOT see this as a potential issue? Someone wrote that provision into the proposal. Who? Why? More importantly, why did our ‘Representatives’ NOT see this and strike it down. Are our elected officials so blind, or is it conceited, as to believe we would be okay with hosing yet another segment of the American populace.

Almost exactly one year ago, the President in his weekly address stressed the need for a fair, balanced and sustainable approach to the budget that would not unfairly burden the middle class. He took the opportunity to not only indicate his willingness to work with all, but to blame the Republicans for the quagmire. History has shown his words to be false, as over the past year we have had stunted interactions between the White House and the GOP.

….to pay more….

My recollections are that those inside the Beltway ARE the wealthiest among us. Since there is no hue and cry from ANY of them, I must conclude that once again laws are being crafted that affect US, not them.

Back to it.

Our military served voluntarily and with great pride and honor. They have upheld their end of the bargain and now that their contractual period of active service is over, Congress bends them over without benefit of a ‘by your leave’ or a kiss.

See my post on participating in the process. ALL politicians, regardless their stripe, are not worth the effort it takes to discern their lies from truths. NONE of them has the honor or the simple decency to represent any hard working American.

The linked article would have you believe that Senator Murray is contrite and would restore the benefits her own legislation curtailed. Was this another instance of “But we have to pass the [health care] bill so that you can find out what’s in it….”(Rep. Nancy Pelosi)

Sen Patty Murray trying to walk back more bogus legislation

According to the article, this amounts to another round of Sequestration’. This time government has insulated itself and thrust our Warriors once again into the fray.

Disclaimer: this is VERY NAUGHTY!

Full Metal Jacket, Gunny Hartman to Private Cowboy

The Not So Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act is the Obama administration’s defining legislation.  Some politicians have been seeking health care reform their whole career; President Obama will forever be known as the President who made it happen.  Regardless of the controversial subjects surrounding the legislation, I believe we simply cannot afford it.

I might not be an economist, but I do know that being in debt is hardly ever a good thing.  When my family creates a budget, we always try to spend less than the amount we earn; that apparently is not the way the government operates.  Our Country is now over 17 trillion dollars in debt, and that number increases every day (US Debt Clock).  Regardless of who is to blame for the deficit, we all should work together to reduce it, not add to it.

I know many out there believe the Affordable Care Act is an investment into the future, but even the richest investors have pockets only so deep.  Senator Obama was quick to say nine trillion dollars in debt was unpatriotic (Newby, 2011); since he became President, the debt has nearly doubled (U.S. Debt Clock).  Paying off the debt should be a bi-partisan effort; it should not matter if you’re republican or democrat.  Together, we have to raise 17 trillion dollars just to get back to zero dollars in the bank.  At that point, we would still be broke.  Regardless of the controversial subjects surrounding the legislation, the Affordable Care Act really isn’t that affordable.

The U. S. Debt Clock
References

Newby, J. (2011, August 24). Obama called Bush unpatriotic for debt before outspending Bush in half the time. Retrieved December 15, 2013, from Examiner: http://www.examiner.com/article/obama-called-bush-unpatriotic-for-debt-before-outspending-bush-half-the-time

US Debt Clock. (n.d.). US Debt Clock. Retrieved December 15, 2013, from US Debt Clock: http://www.usdebtclock.org/

 

The Cult of Personality

I went to school in the ’70’s coming out of the turbulence of the ’60’s. ‘People of Color’ were making great strides in areas where previously there was little opportunity. To help PAY MY WAY, I worked student security on a 1900-0200 shift however many days I could get.

One evening, my co-worker, Irwin and I responded to the student union (not in the collective bargaining sense of the word) for a possibly sick person. It was common for us to make a quick eval and have dispatch either alert or cancel EMS. The campus was on a mountain that was barely accessible in Winter.

We arrived to find a Black Female politics professor (typical of the day, diminutive, short ’60’s-style hair, usually wore rolled up jeans and turtlenecks) laying on a sofa, disoriented, with about 7 or 8 of her students trying to comfort her. I knew them all as the Black and Latino community was fairly small in that time and place.

She saw us and panicked…’Don’t let them touch me! I KNOW what they’re gonna DO… !’, she said. Like a scene from a movie the students all turned slowly from her towards us. They stopped and glared. These were people that I knew and had daily contact with and at that moment I was looking at a mob of strangers.

Irwin and I were of a single thought….time to go. We backed away and left the room, notifying dispatch of what happened and asking them to call EMS and warn them as well. Fortunately she was having a minor stress-related issue and was fine after a little rest.

My point is that some people possess such an aura of love, respect and dynamics of their personality that their mere words can call to people to action in ways they normally would not act. I KNEW my friends would have hurt us had we made any effort to assess the Professor. They were immediately convinced we were there to hurt her.

During the heated discussions over New Mexico stopping people to check for ID, such hatred was levied against the Republican Party that a Latino co-worker engaged me in a brief but tense ‘discussion’. He said ‘Those damn Republicans!  My cousin said that if any cop tries to stop HIM, he’s gonna blow his f*^king HEAD off!’  Well, what could I say to that?

The President is quick to ask for National calm and discourse when the mood suits him, as in the Gabby Giffords shooting.

“At a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized, at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do,” he said, “it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.”

“If this tragedy prompts reflection and debate, as it should, let’s make sure it’s worthy of those we have lost,” Mr. Obama said. “Let’s make sure it’s not on the usual plane of politics and point scoring and pettiness that drifts away with the next news cycle.”

“If, as has been discussed in recent days, their deaths help usher in more civility in our public discourse,” Mr. Obama said, “let us remember that it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy — it did not — but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation, in a way that would make them proud.”

Mr. Obama’s tone changes when he has a vested interest in the situation.

“One of the problems that we’ve had is that one side of Capitol Hill is invested in failure and that makes the kind of iterative process of fixing glitches as they come up and fine-tuning the law more challenging,”

I once had someone tell me that when you are pointing a finger at someone, the other four are pointing back at you.

We will revisit this issue another time

 

Do you REALLY want ‘free stuff’?

 

I was having a conversation with a new employee and another co-worker had told him that I was ‘politically minded’. I told him that I am NOT, however in recent times I have been more so solely because the battle in Washington, D. C. has had mass casualties…US!

I told him that I am a Conservative and a registered Republican. (Thinking HARD about registering Independent…getting TIRED of watching  Mr. Boehner, et al, giving away our birthrights over ‘optics’).

I work hard. Have since forever. I pay my bills and I keep my promises. If I tell you I will do something, it will get done. ‘PERIOD’. I am loathe to have someone  GIVE me anything in return for my loyalty, my vote or my Soul. I am not someone’s pet to sit, roll over and beg for them to reward me with a pittance or pat me on the head and tell me what a good boy I am.

If they are going to do something they should be upfront and honest rather than making up some story they think they can sell better.

Example:  ever REALLY look at your phone bill? Look for this line in either your land- or cell bill:  Federal Universal Service Fund.

Universal Service Fund
Money ‘redistributed’ FROM you

You will find it listed under TAXES AND FEES (But of COURSE, you say).  This program was started in the mid 80’s to provide phone service to low income and rural communities for family communications, emergency contact and to facilitate employment searches. The program has morphed over time into a ‘gimme’, a way for SOME people in government to keep their constituents docile and compliant…to expect a quid pro quo of ‘THEY GIVE me stuff and all I gotta do is have their back on Election Day’.

Look at the current list of recipients:

‘Lifeline’ phone service

To qualify you must be at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines. I worked out a couple of examples, the single and the dual households (2-wage earners). The hourly wage, subtracting 2 weeks for vacation and calling it a 40-hour workweek was $7.75 and $15.89 respectively. Here are the tables:

Link to HHS Poverty documentation

2013 Poverty guidelines for the Lower 48, Alaska and Hawaii

Per federal guidelines it is also ILLEGAL to have more than one lifeline access so the multi ‘Obama-phone’ people are not only committing a crime but gladly so, publicly and with the assistance of local, state and federal officials. Who could forget this person?

Original ‘Obama-phone’ woman

‘Give me your tired, your poor…’  Your huddled masses willing to sell themselves cheap? That was not what we were founded on. We were designed to be a land of opportunity. The CHANCE to make a better life for yourself by hard work and mutual respect for the work of others. We were never meant to be sheep ready for the shearing by any slick talking government huckster promising champagne but serving swill.

 

 

You live on an Island…

Perhaps this slipped the media attention but New York has once again raised fees on the inbound bridges and tunnels.

Toll increases inbound from New Jersey to New York

(Ford) They come here looking for the magic, hoping to find romance, when they can’t find it anywhere else.

(Heche) Maybe they will.

(Ford) It’s an island, babe. If you didn’t bring it here, you won’t find it here.

6 Days, 7 Nights (Harrison Ford, Anne Heche)

“So what?” It is the constant, insidious pickpocket mentality that “The City” foists upon all who deal with her.  Some residents may feel as the one motorist did that there has to be funding for all the upkeep.  Any of you driven in and around there recently?  Numerous cones and lane closures with no discernible repair work in progress.

Who will this affect? Every and anybody driving into or shipping goods into New York.  For the motorist there will come a point where you will choose to see the sights and sounds via traffic cam or some other remote source.  For the trucker, Independent or large enterprise, this will amount to an increase in the cost of doing business.  Even if they are not going into NYC they will still need to defray their costs over the broader base.  Therefore, the cost passed onto the end user be it the person shipping or the person receiving will go up.

New York is a mainstay of Commerce and in many ways typifies the American way of life. Still, it is an ISLAND and has the vast majority of its goods and materials trucked in (hence the movie quotes).  Increased market costs mean increased costs to the retailer which get passed on to you and me.

This is listed as the third of five increases. How much higher will they go and what happens when they decide they need an additional revenue source?

New York Port Authority Financial Statement 2012

Toll revenues increased $178 million over 2011

They spent $274 million on Tunnels, Bridges and Terminals in 2012 and $2.366 Billion on the WTC site.

Their 2012 Financial Statement also indicates that their rent to the City and NJ Port Authority went up.

The difference between a Fairy Tale and a “Sea Story”.

The Fairy Tale starts with “Once Upon a Time…”.  The Sea Story starts with “This is no sh@t…”!

Sea Story… We lived in New Jersey on the Shore a few years back.  When we decided to move to warmer climes we decided to drive into New York (90 minute trip roughly) and see the African Burial Ground in midtown.

African Burial Ground, NYC

We parked really at the end of the street at a meter, money enough for an hour and I set my timer.  At the time there was only a fenced marker, “future site of…” and nothing else. Having “seen” it in a minute or so we walked around and I decided to get my wife an Orange Julius as she was a neophyte to the brand. Got back to the parking meter in about 40 minutes…NO CAR! Obviously my sense of direction was wrong (NOT!). We walked up/down for an hour, expanded square search of the neighborhood, she tried to flag down a passing cop car who blew her off after a fast conversation…

In short, after about 5 hours and a lot of no help from New York’s finest (and I WAS an APO in the mid 70’s) I checked the impound and it was there.  My wife’s first subway ride later we paid the impound fee, the towing fee and found our vehicle midst a SEA of New Jersey plates (I DID say we had time left on the meter.  I did NOT say that the vehicles that had been in front and in back of us were STILL THERE).  This was during the “WAR” between the STATES (NY/NJ). New Jersey folks worked in NY but paid their taxes in NJ.  NY wanted a cut and was told to pound sand. They magically started finding an alternate revenue stream in the tow biz.  Next few times we came into the city before leaving the Northeast, we took the Ferry. Simpler, saner, “funner” with the munchkins and no hassles.

So, for all those denizens of the Big Apple who initially think that all those out of towner so-and-so’s who come into the city with their gas guzzling hyper polluting vehicles need to pay for the City’s upkeep, keep thinking that when YOUR costs go up.  Like taxes, ALL fees and increases are one-way…UP!