Monthly Archives: December 2012

GERALD ON THE FISCAL CLIFF

I ran into my friend Gerald again, and this time he was sort of ranting about the fiscal cliff.  When he found out that his taxes would go up significantly in January because of Congressional inability to renew the Bush tax cuts, he became even more visibly upset than when he lost his money betting on Romney to win the election. Once again he asked if I could write a blog letting the world know what he thought of this Congressional inaction. Once again I reminded him of how easy it would be to obtain his own blog and write whatever he wanted. Gerald still wasn’t in the mood to do this. I then told him I would not write another entry trying to capture the way he thought about things. Finally, Gerald asked if I would “lend” him my blog, just this one time, and he would do the writing. Despite deep misgivings, and against my better judgement, I reluctantly agreed, this one time. Besides, I had actually gotten some favorable comments on his previous posting. So from this point on, the keyboard is in Gerald’s hands. You may find the verbiage a little “earthier” than I would normally use.

To All The Morons Currently Running Congress:

What the fuck is the matter with you people. You can’t bring yourselves to slightly upping the tax rate on really rich guys, so I’m going to have to cough up several grand more out of my pension. Are you really that imbecilic? What, the rich don’t have enough mansions, or yachts, or private jets? The guy with the 12 car garage still needs a couple of Rolls Royces to fill in 2 empty parking spaces? Not only is your inability to get your act together going to cost me several thousand bucks, but more money will also be  taken out of the Missus social security check. When she heard that she nearly exploded. She threatened to go to Washington and have out with all you imbeciles. Believe me, you don’t want a confrontation with the Missus when she’s angry. I guarantee it wouldn’t be pretty.

Normally, I don’t give a fuck that you do virtually nothing on Capitol Hill except fight with each other. I’m usually too busy making my weekly contributions at the craps tables or the sports books at the Strip casinos to give a damn. I know that a productive week for you people is to declare May 14 as National Walnut Day, or some piece of shit “legislation” like that. A normal work week for you people is usually Tuesday – Thursday, anyhow. Then you leave town Thursday night or Friday morning, and don’t come back until Monday night. And that’s if there’s no holiday at the time. If there is a holiday, then it’s an automatic 2-3 weeks off from your “arduous” labors. My cousin Stan, who works down at the auto shop is more productive than you guys. True, he comes in most mornings with a bad hangover, and needs a few gulps from his silver flask to get himself through the day. But at least he shows up for work most mornings, and unlike you morons, actually fixes cars now and then. What do you guys ever accomplish for the couple of hundred thousand they’re paying you?

And you Republicans especially take the cake. First you blow the presidential election by pissing off women, blacks, Hispanics, Asians and other minorities. Women were especially pissed off when those 2 idiots you put up for the Senate in the mid-west came out with their crazy anti-abortion rhetoric, allowing the public to see that your party was swimming out there in looney-tuneville. At least, one would expect that if they did harbor such crazy ideas, they would be smart enough to keep them to themselves. But no, they had to blab them for the whole world to hear. As the Missus would say- they have shit for brains. So who’s left that’s still on your side. Us white guys?  When we go over the fiscal cliff and we start bringing home smaller paychecks, who do you think we’ll blame- Obama or the Republicans. I’ll give you a clue. It won’t be Obama. So the only ones still left in the Republican Party will be the bible-thumpers and the billionaires. Good luck winning elections with that as your base. Shit for brains.

If  I get a smaller pension check, I won’t be able to go down to the Strip and keep the casino workers so gainfully employed taking my money. Plus less people will come to Las Vegas to gamble away their kids college funds, or their retirement savings. This will raise the unemployment rate here in Nevada, which is already the worst in the country. Huge chunks of Las Vegas away from the Strip are already abandoned and look like ghost towns. When the fiscal cliff comes in January, it will only get worse. So here we are on Christmas eve looking at a bleak future. Between the tragic shootings in Connecticut that killed so many innocent, precious  children, and the looming fiscal cliff, there isn’t a lot of merriment going around. Ho, ho, ho.

Well I don’t want to seem to be too judgmental. I am judgmental, of course, but I try to fake not being so. Maybe, at the last moment, you esteemed Congressmen and women will pull a rabbit out of the hat and actually fix the tax situation. That will only leave the mind-boggling deficit, the high unemployment rate, the weak economy and Iran getting a nuclear bomb to worry about. I don’t have high hopes for fixing those things either. But I guess, what will be, will be. In the meantime, stay well, have a happy holiday season, and at least pretend you’re doing something meaningful for the country. As always, I remain:

Your humble servant, Gerald P.

 

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

AS CHERRY PIE

As I’m sure all of you know, the 1960s was a turbulent time in American politics and society.  Various  protest movements were organized against what were considered the two worst evils in America at the time – segregation and other forms of racial discrimination against blacks, and the seemingly endless and bloody war going on in Viet-Nam. Huge protest demonstrations were taking place across the landscape against both these twin plagues; some peaceful, such as the civil rights marches led by Martin Luther King, and some not so peaceful such as the activities of the black panthers. One of the leading spokesman for the black panthers was a man with the nom de plume of H. Rap Brown, who often spoke eloquently about social injustice, but, unfortunately, often advocated a propensity to engage in violent acts to overcome these injustices. While I disagreed with much of what H. Rap Brown advocated, (he’s currently in jail serving a life sentence for murder, for those of you that are further interested in his story,) one statement he made, I thought, hit the nail squarely on the head. He said: “Violence is as American as cherry pie.” Sadly, the events in Connecticut last Friday proved out the validity of that statement.

The mass shootings in that public school in Connecticut were just the latest in a series of murderous events going back more than a dozen years to the tragic loss of life at a public school in Columbine. There was even a greater loss of life when a deranged individual went on a crazed shooting spree at Virginia Tech just a few years back. More recently, let us not forget the lunatic that shot up a movie theater in Colorado causing more loss of life, nor the shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Gifford along with a bunch of other people, on a street corner in Arizona. There is no sense or rationale behind any of these murders, since they emanate from from individuals with deranged mindsets, living in a fog of delusion, and harboring unimaginable grievances. What is readily understandable, however, is how the massive proliferation of guns and bullets and other weapons in this country makes it so easy for those with crazed mental problems to obtain the necessary weaponry to wreck their vengeance, usually on the most innocent of all victims, young children. And because of that proliferation, 40 grieving parents in Connecticut, last Friday, experienced the worst day of their lives, and will live with a nightmare that no parent can ever really recover from. To say nothing of the families and loved ones of the school personnel that were also gunned down.

The gun culture in America, of course, goes back to colonial times. As settlers started pushing west from the 13 original colonies, huge hazards awaited them in the wilderness. There was, of course, wild animals to contend with, as well as the necessity of killing wild game in order to provide themselves with food. Then there were Native Americans who became a tad perturbed that these undocumented white folk, (illegal aliens,) had a propensity for taking away their native lands, and had the means to do it because of superior fire power. So occasionally, these natives whom we call Indians, would go on a rampage and kill the white settlers. Didn’t do them much good though, since we took just about everything away from them, and then threw them a few crumbs called Reservations to live on. There were also a lot of unsavory, nasty characters moving west with the settlers, and general lawlessness was initially experienced in most western states. So it was understandable that a gun culture grew across the U.S. A culture that usually didn’t exist in the European countries from whence most of these settlers came.

Today that culture has become a full fledged gun fetish. There are now federal, state and local police forces in every county from Cape Cod to Seattle WA. Thus, the reality of prevalent lawlessness is largely gone. And I don’t think we have very much to fear from Indian or wild animal attacks. Yes, of course, there are criminals and bad guys  all across the country, but that’s what the police are for. Yet a huge chunk of the populace believes that they have to be armed to the teeth, and ready for the next gunfight at the OK Corral. I have written before about how people went on a huge gun and bullet buying spree when Obama was first elected in 2008. The same thing happened this time around when Obama was re-elected. Gun stores couldn’t keep their shelves stocked, especially with bullets, as people didn’t hesitate to let their fear and paranoia run amok. After all, wasn’t it common knowledge that a re-elected Barack Obama would personally see to it that everyone’s guns were immediately confiscated? So a second gun buying spree has ensued. Even though buying a gun is not exactly like buying a candy bar. Guns run from about $500 a pop and up, well beyond the budgets of most average Americans, I would imagine.

Often it is the most religious fanatics and bible thumpers that have the greatest affinity for gun acquisition. Which makes a lot of sense. I guess they can always point to that passage in the New Testament that describes how Jesus was always packing heat when he went to deliver his sermons. And of course, no topic about guns in America would be complete without mentioning the National Rifle Association (NRA.) With membership in the tens of millions, the NRA has enormous political clout. They have managed to thwart just about every attempt at gun control all across the land, and have caused the defeat of politicians who had advocated for gun control. They, of course, never cease pointing out that that the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution give our citizens the unfettered right (in their minds) to “bear arms.” Since the constitutional wording says “arms” and not “guns,” I wonder if this gives me the right to acquire a howitzer and put it on my front lawn. Then I can blast away at that annoying guy I keep running into in the gym, that lives about a mile away from me. In other words, uncontrolled weapons acquisitions are insane; but neither party is willing to take on the NRA and enact some semblance of gun control sanity.

These days, just about anyone can walk into Wal-Mart or any other store that sells weaponry, fill out a few forms, wait a few days, and then have unlimited access to purchasing any amount of firepower they desire and can pay for. No matter how crazy or delusional they may be. We’ll see if the latest tragedy in Connecticut will change that policy, or whether the NRA will still successfully destroy any attempt at gun control and sanity in this country.

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

A LETTER FROM GERALD

My friend Gerald is still expressing anger and frustration, if not out-right bitterness, at Mitt Romney’s election loss, and does not hesitate to express his wrath every time I run into him. I told him if he was that angry, why not at least send the Romney camp an e-mail expressing his frustrations. He replied that he did that, but with the likely tens of thousands of e-mails they receive, his probably won’t get read. Next, I mentioned that I get to express my opinions on a blog, and that he could very easily set up his own blog, and vent away to his heart’s content. But Gerald didn’t think that was a good idea. He basically views a home computer as a way to obtain as much free stuff as humanly possible, or to play video games. Which is actually a step up, since in his younger days he believed it existed to surf the web for free porn. Besides, he said, outside of the election, what would he write about. His never-ending losses at the craps tables, or from betting on the ponies? He further stated that he was a lousy writer anyhow, but since I already had a blog, would I write a letter to Romney expressing his views, so others could share in his feelings. With great reluctance, and despite knowing better, I finally agreed. So the following is a letter to Romney written from Gerald’s perspective as best that I could capture it. I may have interjected some of my own thoughts, but Gerald had the final say as to content. Changes or deletions were made at Gerald’s behest.

Dear Mitt:

What the fuck? How could you have you have possibly lost the election to the worst President we’ve had since Jimmy Carter, or more likely, Herbert Hoover. You should have won in a landslide by 15-20 points. The way Nixon trounced McGovern in 1972 when he carried 49 states. Or the way Reagan beat Mondale in 1984, also carrying 49 states.  Instead you blew what should have been a sure thing. You did the near impossible; you managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Plus, you cost me a wad of cash when I so foolishly bet on you, because the local casinos were giving  much better odds on your victory versus Obama winning. Yes, that part’s my fault, since I well know from hard experience that the sports books are not in the business of losing. Nevertheless, you are not absolved from blowing what should have been a sure thing.

Here we are with the worst unemployment rate we’ve had since our troops hit the beaches at Normandy, to say nothing of a lagging economy that’s going nowhere, and a real estate market that’s still in the dumpster. Add to that oceans of read ink with a $16 trillion plus debt, and annual budget  deficits well north of a trillion dollars every year. Add to that the fact that Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are bankrupting us to the point that we’re running out of places on this planet to borrow money. Even China has a limit as to how much we can borrow from them. We’re soon going to have to look for life on Mars or Pluto or somewhere, to see if they can lend us a few bucks. In other words it was a presidential candidate’s best possible scenario for winning an election, but still you blew it. So instead of being the most powerful man on Earth, there’s a picture of you on the web pumping your own gas, and then, probably on your way to the store to buy some detergent.

I know why you lost too. You had this habit of saying one thing one day, and then a completely opposite thing the next day. Okay, so maybe it was years instead of days, but you get the picture. The Democrats may be total incompetents, but they’re not entirely stupid. All they had to do was run an ad from when you said (in the 1990s) that like your mother you were strongly pro-choice on abortion, and showing it side-by-side with you saying that now you’re pro-life and opposed to legal abortions. The same thing on a whole bunch of other issues as well. You thought people wouldn’t be paying attention and would never notice. But you were wrong. Say or do anything to get elected? Most people consider that spinelessness. Having no core values tends to worry a lot of folks. Like bringing the hammer down on undocumented immigrants which you did so effectively during the Republican debates. I know you felt you had to go hard right during the primaries so that the looney-tunes, crack-pot element in the Republican Party would vote to give you the nomination. But did you think that Hispanic voters were not paying attention? That there would not be retribution from Latinos on election day. Or how about your comments that 47% of the populace were basically freeloaders. Or your “binders full of women” comments.  Or that you were a “severe conservative.” For a supposedly smart guy, you sure made a lot of stupid mistakes.

Still, when you came on like gangbusters during the first debate, while Obama basically snoozed, I had renewed hopes that my casino bets were not in vain. Things finally seemed to be going your way. Of course, by that point, as I said earlier, you should have been ahead by at least 15 points. Still, I thought, alls well that ends well, and a win by inches is as good as a win by miles. And then another rotten break-hurricane Sandy. When Chris Christie put his arm around Obama and praised him for coming to N.J. after Sandy’s devastation, I knew it was all over. I could see the local sports books already breaking open the champaign bottles bought just with bets that I had unwisely put down.

Please understand that I harbor no grudges. What’s done is done. Mistakes were made but that is the nature of life. Of course it would be nice if you could see fit to reimburse me for my betting losses, being the rich guy that you are, but I’m not holding my breath. You are obviously a good person and a very decent family man, even if you did send for take-out from Boston Market for your Thanksgiving dinner. I figured a guy with your money would have at least had a catered affair. Even I, with a tiny fraction of your money, took my beautiful wife out to some place nicer than Boston Market. In any event, as I’ve said, there’s no bad feelings. I wish you and your family good health and a happy future.

Your devoted servant,   Gerald P.

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

OVER THE FISCAL CLIFF WE GO

By now you should have all heard about the “fiscal cliff” and how we are about to plunge over it, if Congress does not act by around Christmastime. Lots of luck with that. The fiscal cliff came into being in August 2011. The voters, in their infinite wisdom during the November 2010 elections, elected  a Democratic majority in the Senate, but a Republican majority in the House of Representatives. Most of the newly elected House members were Tea Party stalwarts, with a supposed mandate to sharply reduce Government spending by cutting the budget. Then, in July of 2011, a piece of legislative idiocy known as the debt-ceiling had to be raised in order for the Government to go on functioning. The debt-ceiling, which is not stipulated anywhere in the Constitution, mandates that the Government cannot borrow anymore money above an amount previously designated by Congress, unless Congress passes a new law designating an increased amount of debt. I know that this is utter nonsense that attempts to appeal to voters who otherwise are not paying attention to the machinations of the way things get done in Washington, but this nonsense is codified in statute.

So, if any of you haven’t fallen asleep yet, I’ll plow on with more explanation of how Congress functions on the taxpayers dime. Thus, back in July 2011, if the debt-ceiling wasn’t going to be raised on Government spending, where 40 cents out of every dollar spent had to be borrowed, it would have meant that major components of the Government would have to be shut down, and Federal employes sent home with no paycheck. It would have meant missed social security or medicare payments, as well as failure to pay Defense and other Government contractors. It would have meant that if you had payed for a trip to any of our national parks, such as Yellowstone or Yosemite, (over 300 million people visit our national parks every year) you were out-of-luck since park personnel would have been sent home, and the parks closed. You get the picture. But catastrophic or not, House Republicans vowed they would not go along with raising the debt-ceiling unless the Obama administration agreed to drastic cuts in Federal spending to begin January 2013, as well as renewal of the Bush tax cuts through the end of 2012. Otherwise the Government would be shuttered, starting August 2, 2011. Just before midnight on August 1, Obama caved, and agreed to all the Republican demands, and the Government was allowed to stay in business through the end of 2012.

By now, those of you that haven’t fallen asleep are probably propping open your eyelids with toothpicks, but, hey, I didn’t make the rules whereby the Government functions in all its splendor. So now we are in December 2012 and the “fiscal cliff” which sounds a lot better than “congressional stupidity” is about to befall us in just a few weeks. If the Administration and Congress can’t come to an agreement, the Bush tax cuts expire, and taxes go up for nearly everyone. This will be noticed immediately in reduced paychecks due to increased tax withholding. Automatic budget cuts will take effect, including a $50 billion annual cut in Defense spending. This has a lot of  Republicans all upset, since spending on military hardware and troops is the holy grail for conservatives. As if the Defense budget was funded by the money tree that grows in the Pentagon courtyard. Small Defense contractors, heavily concentrated in the Washington DC suburbs of Northern Virginia and Maryland, are claiming that they will have to close their businesses should these Defense cuts be allowed to take place. Other non-Defense contractors are also claiming they will have to reduce payrolls or shutter their companies, causing more unemployment and further weakening an already tepid economy. And so it goes, on and on.

President Obama is willing to reinstate the Bush tax cuts for all Americans, except the wealthiest 2% of the population. For them, (couples earning over $250,000) the marginal tax rates would go up 4.6% on earnings after $250,000. Which is where they were during the Clinton years. Yet Republicans are absolutely not willing to accept 98% of the loaf. They are insisting that it has to be either the entire 100% of the loaf, or no bread at all. After all, doesn’t everyone know that a small marginal tax increase on the richest 2% of Americans will cause an irreparable breach in the very space-time fabric of the universe. A breach that can never be healed and will eventually cause the universe to crumble into a heap of ashes. That, in effect is the Republican position on income taxes, and they’re not budging from it.

The Republicans also want to overhaul social security and medicare to lower their costs, both of which are unquestionably breaking the budget. In this instance, it’s the Republicans that are facing up to reality, and the Democrats that are being irrationally stubborn in refusing to come forward with reform plans that are clearly necessary for those 2 giant entitlement programs. Raising the eligibility age for both programs to 67, and eventually to 70, would make them solvent overnight. And such action would be completely justified because the life span of Americans has significantly increased since these programs were enacted. So there you have it- the GOP won’t budge on on a tax increase for the rich, and the Democrats are just as stubborn on reforming social security and medicare. If both parties hold to their positions we go over the fiscal cliff come January.

Awhile back I wrote a piece on the failures and dysfunctions of democracy, and democratic forms of government in general. I pointed out that Winston Churchill had said that democracy was the worst form of government, (except for all the others that have ever been tried.) And now with this extreme polarization among the ruling parties in this country, dysfunction has never been more clearly highlighted. I believe that members of both parties become highly agitated just at the thought of having to compromise with the other side. Thus, we appear to be stalemated. My feeling is, that at the last minute, some sort of agreement will be reached preventing our plunge over the fiscal cliff. Or not.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.