Friday, July 29, 2011

What to cut when Congress demands budget cuts

1. Cut congressional salaries. Cut them down to the monthly stipend that Social Security recipients get. If Social Security payments go down, or stay static, keep congressional salaries at the same level.

2. Cut the salaries of congressional aides. (See above).

3. Cut the congressional medical plan. Put them on exactly the same Medicare program that seniors receive. If Medicare gets means tested, means-test the congressional representatives, too. Some of those guys are millionaires. They should pay out of their own pockets, just like the seniors who, after paying into the system for decades, will be declared "too rich" to get the Medicare they bought.

4. Ditto congressional aides.

And if the U.S. Government defaults...

Let's default from the Capitol Building down. First, Mr. President and Mr. Secretary of the Treasury, don't pay Congressional salaries. Or benefits. Or expenses.

And for the love of heaven, don't pay to have their toilets cleaned. Tell them to do it with their own toothbrushes.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bad news from all over: from budget crises, to Christian vs. Muslim extremists, to Saudi Arabian beheadings, to Texas executions to dumber Americans

1. Nevermind the budget crisis. The U.S. Government isn’t the only flat broke entity.

"A recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that 47% of Americans say they cannot raise $2,000 within 30 days without selling an asset. (Surprising and sad.) Pawnshops and payday lenders service a huge and - in this economy - growing market."—Alexander Green from an e-mail letter sent to Oxford Club members on June 26th, 2011

2. You think those Muslim extremists are bad news? Watch out for those pro-Christian extremists.

On July 22, 2011, a man dressed as a police officer opened fire at a youth camp on the Norwegian island of Utoya, killing scores people in a two-hour long massacre, authorities said. The alleged gunman, identified in media reports as 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik, is also suspected in a bombing that left seven people dead in the capital of Oslo earlier in the day. In all, the death toll was estimated at 76 by the following Monday. "What we know is that he is right-wing and a Christian fundamentalist,”said one official.

3. Fun fact for Budget Crisis fans.

Even Congress’s own budget office says that the that to dig ourselves out of the financial hole our government is in, we ought to consider increasing revenues [that’s code for raising taxes.] But nobody seems to be listening. Not President Obama. Certainly not the Republicans. The Congressional Budget Office states…

Under current laws and policies, an aging population and rapidly rising health care costs will sharply increase federal spending for health care programs and Social Security. Unless revenues increase at a similar pace, such spending will cause federal debt to grow to unsustainable levels. If policymakers are to put the nation on a sustainable budgetary path, they will need to let revenues increase substantially as a percentage of gross domestic product, decrease spending significantly from projected levels, or adopt some combination of those two approaches.

4. A big “tip of the head” to our pals the Saudis. (And also to the Texans.)

During 2010, our big buddies, the Saudi Arabians, executed (mostly by decapitation) “at least 27 people” according to Amnesty International. You can read the full story here, but beware: the photograph accompanying the story is fairly horrifying.

Besides, if you think that’s something, consider Texas. They had 318 prisoners sitting on death row at the beginning of this year.

5. The dumbing of America.

The United States once had more college graduates among 25 to 34 year olds than any other nation on earth. As of last year, 11 other countries were whupping our butts when it came to leading the world in college graduates of this age. So what do those rocket-scientist deep thinkers in the Tea Party want to do? Why, cut government spending on education, of course! They claim government spending on education is “dumbing us down.”

So what will contributing nothing to our schools give us? Duh?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Speech to the nation on taxes and the Tea Party that President Obama will never make

My fellow Americans: this morning Federal Agents, following my executive order, arrested Eric Cantor, Michelle Bachmann, and group of other so-called Tea Party Republican legislators and flew them to the U.S. Army base in Guantanamo, Cuba, where they are now incarcerated

I gave this order under the authority granted to the President of the United States by an overwhelming vote of Republicans after 9/11, which allows me to determine who is an enemy combatant and order their arrest and incarceration without trial. Some Democrats protested that this was an unconstitutional power, but most Republicans insisted on it, and since they refused to take back down from this position, I am using it.

The arrested individuals are in every respect enemies of the United States, combating us through our economy. They will be charged with conspiring to destroy the economic structure of the United States and, in so doing, attempting to destroy the lives of million Americans citizens, most notably the elderly, infirm, and helpless. This is every bit as much a crime against our citizenry as blowing up a car bomb in Times Square, only on a far greater and more vicious scale.

The courts have not ruled that waterboarding is torture and illegal, and therefore I am happy to tell you that after enhanced interrogation, Representatives Cantor and Bachmann and some of the others confessed to a deliberate attempt to sabotage the United States so that they could overthrow the current administration – in effect, create a governmental coup-by-crisis so that they could take over Washington.

Because of security considerations, most specifically concerns that armed Tea Party zealots will attempt to assassinate the jury, the accused will not be tried on U.S. soil. Instead, they will be tried in Guantanamo and, if found guilty, they will be executed for treason.

Now, I would appreciate it if the remaining members of both houses of Congress would get back to work, before I beome annoyed. I want the debt ceiling raised, and paid for by instituting new tax brackets for the wealthiest Americans, going up to 80 percent for that part of any individual’s income that goes over three million dollars a year. Taxes on excess corporate profits must be taxed similarly. And I am asking for a new job export tax, equivalent to five years’ salary for any American employee whose job is shipped overseas by a corporation, wherever it does business.

We understand that all Americans will have to share at least some of the pain. Therefore, Social Security and Medicare deductions on pay will get extended to cover all earned income. It is my intention to balance the budget

Thank you and goodnight.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

You're welcome and good riddance!

Rupert Murdoch's notorious News of The World put itself out of business this weekend after scandalous revelations surfaced of its staff and agents hacking into the cell phones of dead soldiers, murder victims and others.

Let us hope that Murdoch's Fox News channel is next.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Is it time for the Democrats to put up an anti-Obama primary candidate?

It’s time to come right out and say it. Barack Obama hasn’t merely disappointed his base. He has betrayed us.

He has put Social Security and Medicare on the table – to him nothing more than chips than he can exchange for some vague Republican promises to fiddle around with tax revenues.

This will “cause some political pain…” I heard him say on TV this morning. Political pain?

How about real human pain? The pain of hunger among many seniors and disabled kids, just for openers. Not to mention the pain felt by all of us over 65, who cheerfully accepted Social Security and Medicare deductions from our page checks for decade after decade – because we knew the money were putting in would tide us over and take care of us when we were ill in our old age.

And now we're being cheated out of delivery of a promise and a lifetime of contributions. The Republicans are raiding Social Security as if it were an abandoned bag full of money. And Obama says, well okay, my own supporters don’t want you to do this, and you do want to do this, so we’ll compromise. You can do it.

He “compromised” this way at least once before, when he bargained away his once staunchly defended “public option”

I don’t know what Obama thinks he’s doing. I don’t even know if he thinks. Some deep personal flaw leads him to turn on the people who put him in office — perhaps assuming that come the next Presidential election, Democrats will have no one to vote for save Obama anyway. If that's his thinking, he is a terribly flawed president indeed.

It’s time for us to turn on him. We need a prominent and thoroughly gutsy United States Senator, former senator or a civil servant with experience on the highest level to prepare pronto to run against Barack Obama in the presidential primaries.

In my heart of hearts I know that Russ Feingold or Barney Frank or Bernie Sanders couldn’t carry a national election, even though if we had one of them in the White House, we'd have a great president. Which leads me to one simple question:

Hillary, where are you when we need you?

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Luddite would-be rapist tries an attack the old fashioned way – with a bow and arrows

While it was clearly nothing less than a nightmare for the two victims and I don’t mean to belittle their terror and agony, there’s something about this story I have to love.

A young couple, he a New Zealander named Matt Scheurich, she a French anthropologist in graduate school, were enjoying a picnic and swim at a river in New Guinea when a native rapist attacked them – with a bow and arrows.

Here’s an excerpt from the story in The Huffington Post:

He fired an arrow at Matt Scheurich as the 28-year-old New Zealander relaxed on a river bank while his girlfriend, a French doctoral student studying tribal life, swam in the river.

The first arrow hit Scheurich on the right side of his chest, Dr. Turharus said. The attacker then emerged from his hiding spot and fired a second arrow at Scheurich which hit him in the left side of his chest and deflected down into his stomach.

"Normally they use these arrows for hunting, for shooting at cassowaries and bears," Dr. Turharus said.

Cassowaries are large, flightless birds native to Australia and Papua New Guinea.

The attacker also threw rocks at Scheurich's head, the doctor said. The man then attempted to sexually assault the French woman, but she managed to bite his hand and run to a nearby village…

Think about it. In a day when terrorists who want to restablish medieval Sharia law born of a nomadic culture attack with airplanes and IEDs…when forgers pursuing an ancient art now use their MACs to scan and copy $100 bills…when American rapists use semi-automatic pistols …. this dude tries to pull off a rape with his bow and arrow and by throwing rocks.

That’s Ludism for you. And if you managed to doze through this little nugget in your history class, Luddites were followers of Ned Lud, a 19th Century technophobe who tried to protect the jobs of hand weavers, who were being automated out of their jobs, by smashing those newfangled weaving machines.

The escape from rape was also begun without the help of technology. The intended rape victim bit the rapist’s hand. But after she ran to safety, she activated a temporary locator beacon. She and her fiancĂ©e were evacuated by aircraft. Saved by technology.

Now the would-be rapist, whose identity is known, is being sought, presumably with every high tech tool at the local constabulary’s disposal.

“It might take some time, but it won't be difficult,” one of them said.

I’m not sure what this bodes for folks who, thanks to technology, have seen their jobs exported, their incomes reduce sometimes to nothing, and their lives and future wrecked by the onslaught of applications designed to make sure the rich grow richer while the rest of us grow broke.

Nor do I think there’s a ray of hope here for those of us who have to keep updating our computer technology at the whim of Apple and Microsoft executives. When humanity stands up to the cold hand of technology, it seems that technology wins almost every time.

But I can tell you this. When the high tech forces of the super rich come for me, I’ll be ready to fight them until they zap me off the planet. I’m sharpening my arrows now.