Category Archives: Other Random Thoughts

Hoo-ah to the U.S. Military!

No politics. No negativity. No spin. Just a big “Hell yeah!” to our military and especially those insanely talented Navy Seals. Nine and a half years ago our last President made a promise that we would not stop until those responsible were brought to justice. Yesterday the military and our current President followed through on that promise. It took longer than we hoped back in 2001, but it was seen through, and today, that’s what I am most proud of. That the coward, bin Laden, showed his true colors by attempting to shield himself behind a woman at the end is just icing on the cake.

I believe this reiterates to those around the world who might have begun to doubt our resolve, that they do so at their own peril. That, coupled with some true justice being meted out, is something truly worth celebrating.

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Obama Like Energizer Bunny – Just Keeps Talking and Talking

Enough already! Have we not reached the saturation point for Presidential exposure over the past few months? Everywhere one turns these days, there he is, selling us something. Obama speaking to factory workers, Obama speaking to Congress, the Obamas on vacation. Recently the NY Times pointed out that as of August, the President had done 114 official interviews, compared to 37 by George W. Bush and 41 by Bill Clinton at similar points in their Presidential terms. This is in addition to the mountains of ‘candid’ interview moments walking in and out of meetings, walking the dog, playing golf, etc.

To be honest, it’s not entirely the President’s fault. Once upon a time there was a group of watchdogs in Washington known as the Press Corps who might have called him on the over-the-top nature of his behavior. Alas, the Main Stream Media has turned in their press credentials in exchange for official membership in the Obama Fan Club. To watch them ‘work’ you would think they were members of the Paparazzi and the Obamas were Brad and Angelina.

Today we’re told the President will perform another pair of firsts in his never ending, megalomaniacal quest to convince every last American of his presidentialness and their undying love for him. First, on Sunday, he will appear on all five morning talk shows on the same day! Then, on Monday, he will make the first appearance ever by a sitting U.S. President on CBS’s Late Show with David Letterman. Never mind that Presidents historically have declined these kind of appearances as beneath the dignity of the office. Never mind that he is running out of things to say. Never mind that we’re all sick of looking at him. He presses on; convinced he can make us all agree with him if he just keeps talking long enough. Frankly, Mr. President, as any decent used car salesman will tell you, if you have to sell it this hard, you’re selling a lemon. (As the owner of Government Motors shouldn’t you know this?).

What Mr. Obama is learning, albeit very slowly, is that the Presidency is nothing like the campaign and his ability to talk well, while a neat party trick, is no longer enough. Now is when he needs to stop talking and use all his wisdom derived from his vast political experience… oh wait, that’s not going to work.

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Citizens Should Keep Their Eye On the Ball

In sales circles, they call it the bait and switch. Maybe a better analogy is the common shell game hustlers will often run on a city street corner. Whatever one calls it, in political circles it is frequently used and extremely damaging. Yet, much like the shell game, no one ever notices what is actually happening, not liberals, not conservatives, certainly not the ‘main stream media’. The politicians in Washington and around the country have the citizenry looking at the shells moving blindingly around the table; meanwhile the coin is, quite literally in some cases, already in their pocket.

Even the most voracious news hound struggles to follow everything going on these days; there’s simply too much information. But most Americans are not voraciously following the news, and many more pay no attention at all. The politicians know this and are perfectly willing, even happy, to use it to their advantage. Because if Americans ever stopped and really paid attention… very, very few of our elected officials, regardless of party, would keep their jobs.

There are only a handful of things the federal government is legitimately empowered to govern over. Things such as providing security to its citizens from foreign threats and/or domestic criminals; managing legal immigration (there should be no illegal immigration hence the word illegal); providing a centralized, stable banking system including currency; controlling the public debt. Other, more debatable but generally accepted roles of the federal government are providing some level of welfare for those who genuinely need public assistance (and this number is a tiny fraction of those on the public dole today); guiding an effective education system; over-sight of interstate commerce; etc.

But what do the politicians do? They play the shell game. They have divided the voters, not on these important issues where there might be constructive debate. No, they have us screaming at each other about gay marriage, abortion, or whether the local High School should be allowed to call themselves “Indians” or not. Meanwhile, they are failing at virtually every task on their to-do list. The borders are as porous as a slice of Swiss cheese. Crime is far too high and our prisons are full of evidence of the governments failure to educate and employ. Illegal immigration is rampant. They all dropped the ball on managing the banking sector and then ran around blaming each other in an attempt to cover up their own ineptitude. Public debt is quickly reaching (if hasn’t reached it already) unsustainable levels that will likely bankrupt us. The American education system is an absolute joke! And the list goes on and on.

Our leaders from both parties have utterly failed. They have failed to accomplish ANY of the tasks assigned to them by the Constitution and the voters who elected them. We the People should be outraged. There should be riots in the streets or at the very least a complete housecleaning of all incumbents, regardless of party, at the next election. Instead, the citizenry is far too busy arguing about whether Adam should marry Eve or Steve. The shells keep flying around on the table and we keep watching, but as anyone who’s ever seen a street hustler in action knows, the game is rigged and the outcome is pre-determined – the “house” always wins.

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DIY Road Work

For those among you who think the inefficiency of government is over stated by conservatives, check out this story about a group of residents in Hawaii who completed a road repair in eight days for FREE that the state was claiming might take as much as two years and cost FOUR MILLION DOLLARS!

This is the same government Americans seem to believe can effectively over-see the financial sector, remake the automobile industry and perhaps in the months ahead could take charge of the health care of 300 million people in its spare time. All this while still handling all of the responsibilities it has been failing to handle for the past 50 years. Have any of my fellow Americans been to a DMV lately? The government can not even manage to renew your driver’s license effeciently!

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Your Paycheck Is Not Safe!

Just this week the President of the United States fired the CEO of a publicly traded U.S. corporation. He did so without consulting the company’s board of directors. He did so without consulting the company’s stockholders. And he did so without ANY authority.

Now the media is lobbying against Mr. Wagoner getting his separation pay. Monday night while being interviewed by Greta Van Susteren, Rick Kline of ABC news suggested (actually more like dreamed of when) public opinion would force Obama to reconsider paying the ousted CEO, Rick Wagoner’s $21 Million separation contract.  Never mind that this individual was a 32 year employee of GM or that this money was legally earned and GM is contractually obligated to pay it; Kline, seems to believe that public outrage should over rule legal contracts. Kline cited the public outrage surrounding the AIG bonuses and Congress’ actions to place a retroactive tax on that legally earned money. In case you missed it, and I can see how you might have since the media didn’t bother to report it, that Democratic action turned out to be UNCONSTITUTIONAL.   Whooops!

Folks, this is the French Revolution with the tax code as the guillotine!  This is open class warfare being egged on by the press. Two weeks ago a group in Connecticut organized a bus tour of the homes of the AIG executives. This is a community organizing group in action – in case you were still wondering what that entry on our President’s ever so thin resume was all about. Stirring up the masses against their fellow citizens is their specialty and it is extremely dangerous.

Maybe you don’t have any sympathy for AIG or GM executives.  That sentiment is understandable.  But, you must ask yourself where it will stop? This week the House Financial Services Committee led by everyone’s favorite lunatic, Barney Frank, has approved legislation that would impose government controls on the pay of all employees (not just top executives) of companies that have received capital from the U.S. government. Yet again, the Democrats are trying to impose a retroactive tax measure that would change the terms of legally binding compensation agreements already in place.

As usual, I’m left doing the usual stunned stare at the computer screen asking myself, “What the heck is wrong with people?” Unjust, illegal actions by our government should concern all American citizens regardless of their feelings about the individuals being targeted.  Some day, that citizen may be you! Will it be ok if the government rewrites your employment contract ex-post-facto? Will it be alright if protestors march in front of your home because they think you make too much money?

Remember, the French Revolution began due to economic turmoil. Citizen’s unhappy with their financial status became determined to oust the ruling elite (read – upper class).  At first, the King and other members of nobility were the targets of the outrage, but eventually some 30,000 people were executed as “enemies of the Revolution” many of them common citizens (people we’d today call middle class) who argued for reason and Common Sense, people who dissented.

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They Moved the Line!

What qualifies as rich? What qualifies as poor? Most importantly to the on-going political debate, what qualifies as “Middle Class”? We hear a lot of rhetoric from politicians trying to get elected about the struggles of the middle class. Are they really struggling? By whose measure? And, if they are struggling, why? Is it really that the rich have squeezed them? Or maybe the government is to blame? Let’s back up for a minute.

I’m a child of the 80’s and of a very average middle class family.  But what did middle class mean in the mid 1980’s? It meant:

  • $34,000 a year earned by Dad – Mom ran the house.
  • Parents and 3 kids in a 1400 square foot house.
  • Two cars (the teenagers borrowed one, they didn’t get their own – oh the horror!).
  • A used boat and a used camper – buy what you could afford, not what you wanted or what your neighbor had.
  • Two televisions and no cable! – I know this is hard to believe, but it’s true, we had just 4 channels.
  • One vacation involving air travel in my entire 18 year childhood.
  • No computers, no cellphones, etc. etc. etc.
  • Kids mowing the lawn, raking the leaves, washing dishes, shoveling snow (we were abused!).

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not complaining; not even a little bit.  We had a great childhood.  That was middle class in 1985.  Comfortable, safe and a little spare money for some entertainment.  But, let’s compare that to today.  The $34,000 Dad was making in the mid 80’s equates to a household income of $67,000 today.  The politicians would have you believe the family making $67,000 is in trouble, they’re struggling, the American Dream is dead.  It’s unfair how they’ve been treated by the “rich”.  Well, they are dead wrong; the dream isn’t dead.  What’s really happened is they’ve moved the line on us!  They have changed the standard for middle class and in so doing have created an entire class of manufactured poor.  Let’s examine what a middle class family looks like today?  Or perhaps what I should say is, what the politicians want you to believe a middle class family should look like today?

  • Parents and two kids in a 2800 square foot house.  And forget it if they have a 3rd child, they’ll have to get a bigger place cause they’re out of room.
  • A car for every driver, and in some cases a spare.
  • Boats, ATVs, Snowmobiles, etc.
  • Flatscreen televisions in every room of the house and a $150/month cable or satellite bill so they can have every HD channel imaginable.
  • A trip to Disney World every couple years starting when the kids are toddlers.
  • Computers and cell phones for everyone, hurray!
  • A second home at the lake or the ocean.
  • A gardener and/or a cleaning lady.

I could go on and on, but you get the point.  Of course, every middle class family doesn’t live like this.  But this is what society is now defining as “middle class”.  I know this hypothetical family; they grew up down the street from me, and in 1985, they were RICH!   But, this is what the politicians and the talking heads would have you believe middle class is supposed to look like in 2009 and therein lies the problem.  You can’t live like this on $67,000 a year.  Does that mean these people are struggling, that their government needs to rescue them?  I don’t think so.

To me, and up until the last 20 years I think to most people, middle class means you can put a roof over your family’s head, plenty of food on the table and have a little something left over.  By that standard the vast majority of Americans make enough money to be in the middle class, problem is they don’t want to be middle class they want to live like the proverbial “other half” lives.  In a perfect world, the standard of living would improve with each subsequent generation.  And, yes, it would be nice if the new “middle” was the old “rich” every twenty years or so, but apply that test to the present versus the future.  What would the “middle” need to earn in 20 years?  $200,000, $300,000?  That is not realistic.

The total net worth of American families has risen from $10 Trillion to $51.5 Trillion since 1980 according to the Federal Reserve Board’s most recent report.  That’s 500% growth in 29 years!  Americans are clearly wealthier today than we have ever been, so why don’t we feel it?  Because they’ve moved the line!

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What Is Wrong With People?

I must ask myself that question at least two or three times a day.    Maybe it sounds arrogant – that is not my intent.  I certainly don’t have all the answers, but seriously, what IS wrong with people?  Where has all the Common Sense gone?  What are people thinking?

After threatening to give voice to my frustrations over the state of our nation, our society and/or the world at large for quite some time, I have finally reached the boiling point in recent weeks.  There is a crisis of epic proportions in America today.  It is a Common Sense Crisis.  Too many Americans have been living their lives unconscious of their surroundings for far too long and the consequences have been far too costly.

In the coming days it is my hope to point out the Common Sense perspective to current events, and in so doing, start a dialogue that will hopefully lead to a rebirth of good old fashioned Common Sense.  I hope you’ll join me.

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