Archive for February 2010

REVERSE ROBIN HOODS

February 21, 2010

Yes I meant plural. There are more than one of these guys out to destroy whatever retirement system you are participating in. They have done a pretty good job driving the stock market to the bottom and then 2/3 of the way back up giving you heart failure as you watched your 401K tank. A lot of people rode it to the bottom of this cycle and are feeling a little better now. It will tank again and soon. This last run up was a totally manipulated affair by government and the big banks trying to recover their balance sheets.

Now Hank Paulson(as detailed by Paul Craig Roberts)herehttp://www.progressivefix.com/obamas-deficit-commission and Mish Shedlock (herehttp://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2010/02/illinois-pension-fund-61-billion.html,
here http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2010/02/illinois-pension-fund-61-billion.html,
here http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2010/02/pew-study-shows-trillion-dollar-state.html to just name two are out throwing their lips around saying that we must cut Social Security and Medicare in Paulson’s case, and we must destroy the the pension systems of state and federal workers.

As if the above were not a big enough attack on all of our pension systems now the Obama administration has set up a panel to make recommendations on how to cut the deficits at the same time Hank Paulson says SS and Medicare have to be on the block for cuts.

Paul Craig Roberts lists the attacks on SS of the past administrations on the system listed in the linked article above. To summarize briefly, the Regan administration (Grenspan and Stockman) had Regan phase in SS increased taxes to create a budget surplus they could then borrow to fund their budget deficits by using the money to buy T bills. They keep saying there is no money in the trust fund which is a flat out lie. If our money isn’t there then all the foreign countries holding T bills are getting screwed right along with us. The Clinton administration buggered the CPI so they could limit SS payments by understating inflation. (some estimate at least 50% higher SS payment if they had left it alone.

Let’s be perfectly clear the Republicans were against SS in the beginning and have been trying to destroy is ever since. They even call it Welfare (a dirty word in their dictionary) but since most of us pay into the system it’s total bullshit to call it welfare. Social Security can be secured easily by a few simple changes that the right hates. No surprise there. Simply lift the cap on wages so that all pay for all of their wages and I would add on top of that the the same tax on all investment income. It can be secured as far as the eye can see by making some minor tweaks in the system. Anybody who says differently is just flat out lying.

Medicare is another story entirely. In it’s present form it is unsustainable. The CBO has estimated the only way out of budget deficits and for health care cost control is to go to a Universal Care Program (call it what you like) . Good luck passing that , so when it bites us in the butt in the near future we will have to deal with it or a lot of old folks will be in the streets dying. All one has to do is look back before 1936 to see the plight of old folks at the time. Around 80% were living below the poverty level with no health care and facing a very dreary Golden Years. We fixed that with SS and Medicare and now they want to go back to the good ole days.

The State and Federal programs are funded by the employees and by the organization they work for. In the State systems they are if supposed trouble now because the states found ways to not put in their money and are faced with raising taxes to fix their self created problems. All these fear factor stories are based on projections of cost way into the future . We all know now how good they are projecting any economic matters > (remember them saying that nobody foresaw the housing bubble problem. (I know several blind men that say it) And now these same characters are projecting these failures. It is probably a badly hidden attack on wage and benefits for the unionized work force.

We have a choice I suppose , we can set here and let them destroy our Golden Years or we can for once fight back. There is deep seated hate out there for Union people because of the benefits they have fought and pain for over time. I ask all you haters out there to remember you too will be forced into the Medicare system at age 65, let it be destroyed for you own peril.

Don’t believe the lies, this is all fixable.

_______
The Grey Tiger

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PENSION FUND SMACKDOWN

February 17, 2010

Mish Shedlock an investment advisor of some fame has consistently ragged  on unions and their pension funds in particular, time after time.  In this post and others Mish claims it is the union workers who have negotiated fat retirement and pay contracts that are bankrupting the states.  Here’s the Illinois story of why this is now a problem.  Seems like the state who owes the retirement system the money they now have to borrow to pay up should have been paying into the system all along.  They opted out of the Social Security system to save money on a year to year basis and of course it’s easier to shine the unions then to cut services or raise taxes to pay your bills.

This argument is used by the right and the rich to try and destroy working families by basically telling half truths  when the system is in trouble.  It’s the same argument they use when they talk of Social Security being broke.  They say there is no money in the systems trust fund.  Hell no there isn’t it’s government T-bills that if the SS system hadn’t bought them somebody else would have had to.  Now the bills are coming due and they don’t want to pay them (default on the debt)  which says they also will try and default on the National Debt.  They won’t be happy till were all eating cat food.

THE WARNING

February 17, 2010

This is an earlier Frontline program on an honest Woman who tried to stop Greenspan and the boys from destroying the country.  She wasn’t successful but she tried, and the good ole boys beat her to death and screwed us in the process.

NO WINGER-REALLY A RIGHT WINGER IN A TEA STAINED COAT

February 17, 2010

This letter was first published in June of 2009 but has suddenly appeared again in my email box.  A friend sent it to me for opinion (he already knows what I will say) but what the hell I’m game.  Janet claims to be fed up with both parties (and who isn’t) but seems to be reading from the far right play book trying to hide in  a Tea Bag. Since this was written almost a year ago lots of happened in the Teabagger movement and one could hardly say they have gotten stronger.  Talk on the street is that it will destroy any conservative chance of winning the White House in 2012 , but it is pretty easy to see they might be somewhat more successful in the 2010 races for Congress.  A lot of  talking points in this letter have been out there since they were first aired in the 08 election by those who are against Obama.  My political stance is known as Political Atheist , I’m not locked in to either party but it will be easy to see I am way more progressive than Janet or Beck.  So dig in and check out my comments in RED

GLENN BECK READING ON HIS SHOW THE LETTER BELOW.  MY COMMENTS ON HER POINTS WILL BE IN RED

Janet Contreras Letter, Glenn Beck Program

The text of the letter is below along with an audio video from the show as carried on air. You can visit the Glenn Beck website to sign a petition endorsing the letter.

Janet Contreras (see photo) is a former Democrat who switched parties to Republican to vote for John McCain but she is already fed up with the GOP’s reluctance to stand for the constitution and against Barack Obama’s socialist agenda.

Curious as to reader thoughts.

ON OPEN LETTER TO OUR NATION’S LEADERSHIP:

– Janet Contreras

June 17, 2009

I’m a home grown American citizen, 53, registered Democrat all my life. Before the last presidential election I registered as a Republican because I no longer felt the Democratic Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. Now I no longer feel the Republican Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. The fact is I no longer feel any political party or representative in Washington represents my views or works to pursue the issues important to me. There must be someone. Please tell me who you are. Please stand up and tell me that you are there and that you’re willing to fight for our Constitution as it was written. Please stand up now. You might ask yourself what my views and issues are that I would horribly feel so disenfranchised by both major political parties. What kind of nut job am I? Will you please tell me?

Well, these are briefly my views and issues for which I seek representation:

One, illegal immigration. I want you to stop coddling illegal immigrants and secure our borders. Close the underground tunnels. Stop the violence and the trafficking in drugs and people. No amnesty, not again. Been there, done that, no resolution. P.S., I’m not a racist. This isn’t to be confused with legal immigration.

By this I suppose she means the rounding up and deporting all illegal immigrants .  Good luck with that !  Where are you going to get the 94 billion bucks to do that job.  The time for you to stop this problem has long since past and would have cost a lot less money.  All you had to do was throw any CEO , owner, manager who hired an undocumented worker into jail for a nice long rest.  The problem would have ended quickly.  By now it is pretty apparent the flow has reversed, they are going home, there are no jobs.

Two, the TARP bill, I want it repealed and I want no further funding supplied to it. We told you no, but you did it anyway. I want the remaining unfunded 95% repealed. Freeze, repeal.

I actually agree with her that TARP should never have been .  Too late now, it’s been done and the banks are still in the same trouble or bigger.   That was a Bush plan and Obama played along with it so he shares the blame.  Once again though the need for TARP was caused by (what else) a Free Market philosophy endorsed by the everyone from Regan on (yeah Clinton too) .  Dear ole Greenspan recently before congress said OH GEE I was wrong , financial markets need regulators (NO SHIT SHERLOCK)

Three: Czars, I want the circumvention of our checks and balances stopped immediately. Fire the czars. No more czars. Government officials answer to the process, not to the president. Stop trampling on our Constitution and honor it.

Czars are just a name really that brings froth to the mouth of  a lot of people.  They have been used forever almost and simply are a way of pointing out the head of an agency or a policy that the President has authority to control.  Here’s the dictionary definitionn of the job .  Any authority a Czar may have is bestowed because they are head of an agency that control a focused problem.  Drug Czar for instance.

Four, cap and trade. The debate on global warming is not over. There is more to say.

Cap and Trade sucks, nothing more to say.  It might just be Climate Change, check the pictures of ice melting throughout the world and you’ll know that something is going on.  Cap and Trade will not stop the problem and most likely the problem will not be stopped, we will go into an Ice Age when the Great Conveyor stops.

Five, universal healthcare. I will not be rushed into another expensive decision. Don’t you dare try to pass this in the middle of the night and then go on break. Slow down!

Call it whatever you want, but if you expect the Country or each one of us to remain solvent we have to go to a Single Payer program of some kind, The Congressional Budget say that a Single Payer system is the only way the budget can be brought under control.  Why pay insurance companies a 30%  bonus for just paying the bills , something the government does now for 3% .  And while were at it why not go to a drug program like the VA the most efficient in the world and save Medicare 400 billion a year in the process.

Six, growing government control. I want states rights and sovereignty fully restored. I want less government in my life, not more. Shrink it down. Mind your own business. You have enough to take care of with your real obligations. Why don’t you start there.

Don’t seem like the States are doing a bang up job either, they are broke too.  This is another area where you should have been outraged but probably supported , wire tapping, arresting and jailing citizens without due process, no knock and on and on.  She have been fearful and sucked up the safety under the cloak of Uncle.

Seven, ACORN. I do not want ACORN and its affiliates in charge of our 2010 census. I want them investigated. I also do not want mandatory escrow fees contributed to them every time on every real estate deal that closes. Stop the funding to ACORN and its affiliates pending impartial audits and investigations. I do not trust them with taking the census over with our taxpayer money. I don’t trust them with our taxpayer money. Face up to the allegations against them and get it resolved before taxpayers get any more involved with them. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, hello. Stop protecting your political buddies. You work for us, the people. Investigate.

Most of the crap out there about Acorn was a straight out lie that has been debunked by all, forget about it.

Eight, redistribution of wealth. No, no, no. I work for my money. It is mine. I have always worked for people with more money than I have because they gave me jobs. That is the only redistribution of wealth that I will support. I never got a job from a poor person. Why do you want me to hate my employers? Why ‑‑ what do you have against shareholders making a profit?

Gee lady, I have paid the same 8 or 9 %% federal tax just about forever, those that make the big bucks can not say the same, nor can the corporations, check the charts the middle class are the only ones who have not got a tax break of any size.  While I wish I had more say in how my bucks are spent (war spending at current levels is nuts) I don’t mind paying my taxes,  All in All I have gotten a lot for my money, too bad they didn’t get more from those that could afford it .  They sure as hell didn’t do any Trickle Down it was more like Piss On the middle class.


Nine, charitable contributions. Although I never got a job from a poor person, I have helped many in need. Charity belongs in our local communities, where we know our needs best and can use our local talent and our local resources. Butt out, please. We want to do it ourselves.

Closet talk , what she really means is destroying Social Security and Medicare and I’m sure Unemployment Insurance is included.  You want to give, then give, but the government will help just in case your a penny pincer.

Ten, corporate bailouts. Knock it off. Sink or swim like the rest of us. If there are hard times ahead, we’ll be better off just getting into it and letting the strong survive. Quick and painful. Have you ever ripped off a Band‑Aid? We will pull together. Great things happen in America under great hardship. Give us the chance to innovate. We cannot disappoint you more than you have disappointed us.

Some agreement here, I don’t think the banks should have been bailed out, but I do think the car companies and any other industry that is in serious trouble should be helped.   Remember the wailing from some when we bailed out Chrysler, well we made money on that deal ,   Without good paying blue collar jobs we are doomed,  want to save some money then cut subsidies that are given on a routine basis for ever, corporate farms, big oil for example.

Eleven, transparency and accountability. How about it? No, really, how about it? Let’s have it. Let’s say we give the buzzwords a rest and have some straight honest talk. Please try ‑‑ please stop manipulating and trying to appease me with clever wording. I am not the idiot you obviously take me for. Stop sneaking around and meeting in back rooms making deals with your friends. It will only be a prelude to your criminal investigation. Stop hiding things from me.

Good luck with this wish.  They might publish the information and even televised hearings , but tell me how much did you know or learn from the health care debate that went on for year.  Not much!!  If they do publish data you can count on it being twisted so far from the truth the info will be worthless.  Take the unemployment numbers that are published now 9.8%  try 22% for a closer number.

Twelve, unprecedented quick spending. Stop it now.

UNPRECEDENTED SPENDING, I assume you mean Obama here.  Golly Gee I didn’t think this was a new thing seem like since Regan’s day we have been doing a great job in this field.  Has Obama spent a bunch on things you don’t like, is that what your whining about?  TARP wasn’t his, the Recovery Act is and just about most who have studied the Great Depression know that in these time you need to spend to create jobs, and keep people from starving .  But of course you have never thought this was a good thing, you have been against the Social Programs forever, you would like to go back to the pre Social Security days when 80% if seniors were classified as poor.



Take a breath. Listen to the people. Let’s just slow down and get some input from some nonpoliticians on the subject. Stop making everything an emergency. Stop speed reading our bills into law. I am not an activist. I am not a community organizer. Nor am I a terrorist, a militant or a violent person. I am a parent and a grandparent. I work. I’m busy. I’m busy. I am busy, and I am tired. I thought we elected competent people to take care of the business of government so that we could work, raise our families, pay our bills, have a little recreation, complain about taxes, endure our hardships, pursue our personal goals, cut our lawn, wash our cars on the weekends and be responsible contributing members of society and teach our children to be the same all while living in the home of the free and land of the brave.

I entrusted you with upholding the Constitution. I believed in the checks and balances to keep from getting far off course. What happened? You are very far off course. Do you really think I find humor in the hiring of a speed reader to unintelligently ramble all through a bill that you signed into law without knowing what it contained? I do not. It is a mockery of the responsibility I have entrusted to you. It is a slap in the face. I am not laughing at your arrogance. Why is it that I feel as if you would not trust me to make a single decision about my own life and how I would live it but you should expect that I should trust you with the debt that you have laid on all of us and our children. We did not want the TARP bill. We said no. We would repeal it if we could. I am sure that we still cannot. There is such urgency and recklessness in all of the recent spending.

From my perspective, it seems that all of you have gone insane. I also know that I am far from alone in these feelings. Do you honestly feel that your current pursuits have merit to patriotic Americans? We want it to stop. We want to put the brakes on everything that is being rushed by us and forced upon us. We want our voice back. You have forced us to put our lives on hold to straighten out the mess that you are making. We will have to give up our vacations, our time spent with our children, any relaxation time we may have had and money we cannot afford to spend on you to bring our concerns to Washington. Our president often knows all the right buzzword is unsustainable. Well, no kidding. How many tens of thousands of dollars did the focus group cost to come up with that word? We don’t want your overpriced words. Stop treating us like we’re morons.

We want all of you to stop focusing on your reelection and do the job we want done, not the job you want done or the job your party wants done. You work for us and at this rate I guarantee you not for long because we are coming. We will be heard and we will be represented. You think we’re so busy with our lives that we will never come for you? We are the formerly silent majority, all of us who quietly work , pay taxes, obey the law, vote, save money, keep our noses to the grindstone and we are now looking up at you. You have awakened us, the patriotic spirit so strong and so powerful that it had been sleeping too long. You have pushed us too far. Our numbers are great. They may surprise you. For every one of us who will be there, there will be hundreds more that could not come. Unlike you, we have their trust. We will represent them honestly, rest assured. They will be at the polls on voting day to usher you out of office. We have cancelled vacations. We will use our last few dollars saved. We will find the representation among us and a grassroots campaign will flourish. We didn’t ask for this fight. But the gloves are coming off. We do not come in violence, but we are angry. You will represent us or you will be replaced with someone who will. There are candidates among us when hewill rise like a Phoenix from the ashes that you have made of our constitution.

Democrat, Republican, independent, libertarian. Understand this. We don’t care. Political parties are meaningless to us. Patriotic Americans are willing to do right by us and our Constitution and that is all that matters to us now. We are going to fire all of you who abuse power and seek more. It is not your power. It is ours and we want it back. We entrusted you with it and you abused it. You are dishonorable. You are dishonest. As Americans we are ashamed of you. You have brought shame to us. If you are not representing the wants and needs of your constituency loudly and consistently, in spite of the objections of your party, you will be fired. Did you hear? We no longer care about your political parties. You need to be loyal to us, not to them. Because we will get you fired and they will not save you. If you do or can represent me, my issues, my views, please stand up. Make your identity known. You need to make some noise about it. Speak up. I need to know who you are. If you do not speak up, you will be herded out with the rest of the sheep and we will replace the whole damn congress if need be one by one. We are coming. Are we coming for you? Who do you represent? What do you represent? Listen. Because we are coming. We the people are coming.

YEAH SURE, YOUR COMING, LED BY WHO? AN ANGRY MOB?  HONEST POLITICIANS ?  REALLY???   You have a right to believe what you want but don’t pretend to be anything but RIGHT WING, CONSERVATIVE, CRUEL HEARTED, STINGY, FEARFUL, NASTY PEOPLE WHO OPERATE ON FEAR. WELL SORRY LADY, I’M NOT SCARED OF YOU OR YOUR TEABAGGERS,  and if you want to follow a crybaby like Glenn Beck then have at it.

– Janet Contreras

June 17, 2009

GET OUT YOUR HATCHET , SCALPELS WON’T DO THE JOB

February 11, 2010

BUDGET TALK- CUT, CUT ,CUT.

Never mind we are still in depression times and there are no jobs.  The crazy talk about recovery are simply not backed up by any facts that   are not just pimples on a giant’s butt.  Big news today is WOW we lost 40,000 less jobs than expected and that’s the best they can do.  We have added some jobs in the auto industry and that’s encouraging but the trend to outsource is still underway and companies like Google for instance say they need to hire foreign workers because their are not the qualified workers they need in this country even though their are close to 9 million unemployed citizens already here.  I am beginning to wonder if someone left “TRAINING PROGRAMS” out of the CEO vocabulary .

So let’s cut the federal budget and where’s the first place they look?  Why of course the Social Programs are the first target.  There was talk for awhile that billionaire Pete Peterson was to head up a Presidential commission  http://firedoglake.com/2009/02/18/hedge-fund-billionaire-pete-peterson-key-speaker-at-obama-fiscal-responsibility-summit-will-tell-us-all-why-little-old-ladies-must-eat-cat-food-so-social-security-can-be-saved/  to reform Social Security into a private pension fund , that seems to have been shelved for now.  The original plan was to have a commission like the Base Closing commission that would send a plan to congress for an up or down no change vote.  Thanks to a Democratic leadership revolt that plan is shelved.  Now their will be a commission that will simply issue a report for Congress to consider.  Before moving on let’s be clear the fix for SS is simple,  remove the wage limit and go to a simple if you receive it you pay SS tax on it.  I would also include a smaller tax on dividends and capital gains for all income of those under SS retirement age.

So where do we cut.  The federal budget is dished out like this pie chart shows   http://www.warresisters.org/pages/piechart.htm Where would you start if this was your household budget.  Of course you would go to the biggest expense and see where you could tweak it to reduce the load.  In this case it’s the Defense Budget that stands out clearly as the target.  Now before you get your panties in a bunch and get all revved up about me being weak on National Defense look at the numbers .  Well over a third is defense.  This chart counts military retirement as part of the total and of course that’s untouchable in my mind.  So let’s consider the 1000 bases we have scattered throughout the world.  http://www.inteldaily.com/2010/02/the-700-military-bases-of-afghanistan-black-sites-in-the-empire-of-bases/ .  First be clear , there are many bases that do not appear on the Pentagon list, like a billion dollar base in Qatar.  You can immediately question the need for base in Japan, Germany, Korea and many other cold war outposts.  Then flip over to the 700 plus bases built in Iraq and the goal of 700 more in Afghanistan.   There is enough pork in contractor monies in building and support of these bases to take care of a huge chunk of the budget.  Much, much more money than is available in all other programs that can be touched.  Pie in the sky programs like the old Star Wars missile defense system , or the F22 fighter program exist today and should be ferreted out and canned.

Before we go destroying the basic support systems for the senior and less fortunate of the country let’s go in and cut the hell out of these  huge wasteful parts of the defense budget.

THE DRUMS ARE PLAYING-WE JUST CAN’T HEAR THE MUSIC

February 9, 2010

The marching band is banging away and were sitting out here thinking if they would just play a little louder we could hear them.  Were all wanting and expecting reform of our financial systems and all eyes are on the Senate where we see day by day more and more of the reforms wacked from the bill.

It’s all a game my friends.  They have no intentions of changing anything but the paint job. Here’s Why.  The George Washington Blog pops a story that seem new to my eyes.  I’m sure we heard some puff lines about the goodness of this part of the WTO treaty but it didn’t ring a bell at the time.  If you think change is going to happen read this piece.  The cyanide pills are in the upper medicine cabinet.

THEY WANT MORE PAIN

February 9, 2010

This Rasmussen Poll (yeah I know you don’t trust polls) however the spread on this one is so wide even if it’s not very accurate is scary at worst and a death rattle if accurate.

According to this poll only 11% of Americans believe that the government should spend and increase the deficit during tough economic times.

Question #1:     Which would be better for the economy cutting deficits, or increasing deficit spending?

70% say cutting the deficit

11% say increase spending,

19% wouldn’t know if it hit em in the head.

You can see all three questions in the poll by clicking here

Anybody with more than a wart on their shoulders knows that the only way out of this mess is to create jobs.  Without government leadership and money this will not happen. Paul Craig Roberts (after conversion) lays it out for you here and it is plain the government and corporations acting in tandem have destroyed the American Labor Force , with their , treaties, tax breaks,  and corporate greed sending our jobs overseas.  They sold this crap to us with a MSM solidly in their pockets and full of outright lies.  Pie chart is breakdown of 2009 budget.

Now I’m betting that 90% of those that say cutting the deficits is the favorable way to boost the economy can’t site you the %’s or the numbers from this budget or chart.  They prove that in poll after poll by showing how very little they know about what’s going on.  Since we have so little to say about how any of this is done it may be best for your mental health to just say “TO HELL WITH IT” Before we give up let’s apply a little Checkbook economics to the problem.  If your household was in trouble and you have set down with your Quicken program and printed out your expenditures for the year , what numbers would you look at first.  Of course you go the biggest outlay first (and fixed costs like mortgage’s are not changeable) so you go to the largest item that you can make changes in life style to lower.  Simple ole houshold common sense.

Gee do you think you could find a few cuts in the 1.4 trillion dollar military budget which is  (54%) of the total budget.  Only 34% of the budget can be cut  as the veterans part is already strapped for funds in most departments.  But from the President down the military budget, social security , Medicare and Medicaid and the military will not be cut.  So what’s left chicken feed that if we cut it all would have no effect on the current crisis.  Yet 70% of the citizens think budget cutting is the big ticket item.  In this case the politicians will most likely hear the people, they will cut whatever they can reach.  You can bet Social Security , Medicare, Medicaid and education will be under fire.  Forming panels on things like Social Security whose recommendations  will get  a straight up or down vote are a danger to every citizens counting on SS for part of their retirement.

Damn people, you gotta go a little deeper then the evening news.