Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Asleep at the Wheel

In my opinion,
Our Conservative Brothers & Sisters have been asleep at the wheel for 30 - 40 years being busy building families, earning a living, watching TV and allowing their children to be inculcated into the Liberal Dream while in HS and College... meanwhile the State Senates and Federal Dems who were able to amass power during this time, quietly went about their business of appointing department heads in Federal Agencies, who then hired like-minded Liberals who have all dug-in like ticks into the Federal and State Bureaucracies with the Unions behind them and have poisoned the entire system... which were are now *all* dealing with... So in comes A President who knows what to do with this entire Apparatchik EPA, FDA etc... and we the Voting public are left to deal with the facts that no matter what we do - and no matter WHOM we elect... this evil structure will be in place for a long time until and if we get a President and Attorney General in place who will start wholesale firings come hell-or-hi-water and deal definitively with the 5th and 9th Circuit Federal Judges that try and overrule these firings... it's going to take some real Balls... in a President/AG (or Ovaries). Jay Rephan 6-12-2013

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Citizens United, Businesses and the Corporate Mix

Sometimes we forget in the discourse of a civil political conversation that as Mitt Romney put it "Businesses or Corporations) are People too!" and I know it sounds silly but this could not be a truer statement. Corporations and Businesses are referred to and vilified much too often - in the press and in movies and elsewhere as 'evil'. They are actually just legal congregations of people trying to make a buck and to protect themselves from the taxman at the same time... Just... like... you... and... I.

Now. Here comes the impact of the Supreme Court's Ruling on, and the Impact Of "Citizens United" which supplanted the flawed (McCain-Feingold) Law... That decision and subsequent lower court decisions have led to SuperPACs, which allow corporations, unions and individuals to make unlimited contributions, pool them together, and use the money for political campaigns - Democrats definitely got their feathers ruffled when the Citizen's United Supreme Court Case came down but had no complaints when things were going their way when they crushed McCain in 2008 Using all legal tactics (PAC's) available to them. ----

However, after the 2010 Mid-Term Tea-Party disaster 'House' takeover, the rumblings started and the handwriting was on the wall and has gotten bigger and bigger and now all HELL has broken loose with the Individuals and *remember* Businesses... being able to give unlimited money to their chosen SuperPACs... But the Democrats and Obama are fearing they are going to get their butts kicked in the last four months of the 2012 Presidential campaign and all of a sudden Businesses and SuperPACs are corrupting our political system. The figures were there for anyone to look up regarding how much money "Wall Street" and The "Tech Sector" or the "Teacher's Unions" gave to the Obama campaign in 2008 ( and nobody said a word. NOT A WORD.

That said, there are those, including myself who believe that the secret nature of SuperPAC donor lists are a bad, rather than good thing and that Congress should modify the law so that any press outlet or individual can see who is contributing to whom as a matter of public law -if- the "Entity" is going to exceed the "Individual" limit of $2500. That will stop some contributors from giving in 'anonymity' the Million$$ checks with impunity.

Obama has in the recent past, brazenly with Muy Macho - openly challenged Romney's character as well as his wife's (through surrogates) womanhood. Well Romney, like any good Republican, if history is to be any teacher, is going to answer Obama (I'm tellin' ya) the only way he should - and that is to take him out 'back of the Ballot box and settle it there ...the way Reagan did.

And that is respectfully why Businesses and Corporate Donations need to be *unmodified* as long as their donations are disclosed in the future... and admittedly, why the SuperPAC's setups clearly *need modifying* I will grant you.

Monday, March 14, 2011

We (in America) Know Why There Is No Looting in Japan

Japanese Standing in line for Water - NO Police...

In quiet, candid  response to this British article which asks but does not dare answer "Why is there no looting in Japan?

I'll answer it. And maybe my answer won't be so quiet - but it will be candid. Because, regardless of race, color, creed, religion or what have you, the Japanese Culture is a culture of honor and respect.

My Culture in America has become, regardless of the above, a bunch of disrespectful, "I'll take what's mine, and you shut your damned mouth" louts.

In my city, a heated discussion between any given lower-income, under-educated beer-drinking (or other-wise high) persons (pick your race), is likely to end up with a stabbing or shooting later that same night down the street. These are your looters... These are the folks who are fully entitled to buy a gun until they murder or shoot their their first human being.
These are the folks we want to try and catch as early and possible in school to teach them right from wrong... even if their parents will not... but that's another blog.

And to you folks who would give a whining answer about the unequal incomes in America... I will answer that even those with the lowest incomes in Japan *still do not loot* during even during the worst of crisis.

I invite any comments.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Growth, Belief -- and Believing

Pro-Growth - the engines of our economy - certain things in the American spectrum of life do not necessarily lend themselves to the "you're either growing or dying" sort of philosophy. Certain kinds of businesses do not need to, or have to - keep growing their markets in order to sustain themselves.

And I understand, believe me, that if the public owns "stock" in a company - their profits and growth rates need to keep the pace which they had previously forcast to investors and/or stockholders. I *get* that...

Certain towns in America - Carmel, CA comes to mind - have managed their growth and been just fine. I live currently in Nashville, TN and there is a mentality here of growth, growth, growth! Do we want to become Atlanta, GA? Jeeze! And I hate to say it - but - many beautiful little towns in France... have been just perfect, for 500 years.

What the heck is wrong with a company or many select "entities" growing to a certain size and then just "being in business" and maintaining it's value or charm *at* that point. Like an Ice Cream company? Or a Shoe manufacturer? Or a town in North Dakota? Are there never any points of "optimum"?

What will it take, in our various environments, to achieve the agreement that some level of something is enough? At what point is there something called satisfied? And don't get me wrong, we can keep consuming and changing our environment until we are satisfied. That's what is great about America. The freedom to choose when enough is...

Anyone under a given set of circumstances can be satisfied with what they have - think of certain actors... that have disappeared from the public eye... no more fame... Could it be they are happy with what they've achieved and are now just - living?

What will it take in your life to achieve that optimum level of happy and content? Life on earth, in my opinion, should be mostly about one thing... living.

Life -- living.
Breath -- breathing.
Love -- and loving.
Belief -- and believing.

Do *you* get it? If not... when?
Tell me how *you* feel, or what you think, by clicking on "Comments" below.

A Lessening of the Worsening...

Both parties, both R and D are being less than truthful.

  1. Dem's say that keeping rates frozen for another two (2) years for all tax brackets won't make any difference other than robbing the US treasury of 700 billion dollars over ten years.
  2. Repub's say that extending the tax cuts to *all* brackets will create the growth we need, and stimulate job growth by freeing money that now sits on the sideline.
R wants all rates to stay down because they see that if they don't - the recession has no chance of getting better.

D wants to increase tax rates on those with incomes over $250k because they truly believe that will help the economy. Think Keynesian economics.

The truth for R's is that even with keeping all the Bush tax cuts unchanged, they will only get this for a maximum of two years until *guess what* happens? That's right! Obama's re-election bid will be known. Odds are always in favor of re-election... But you remember... Carter... GHW Bush? There are always exceptions. So with the possible re-election of O, most entrepreneurial money (in the +250k bracket) will stay on the sidelines until O is gone, if he gets gone. The only thing propping up the stock market now is interest rates are staying extremely, exceptionally low. If the current O's keep the Keynesian high deficit spending going - all bets are off regarding interest rates, the stock market and '70's style inflation.

The truth for D's is that they keep doggedly missing the point that the Bush year's tax cuts created 8 million jobs during his presidency even though he started out his time at bat with a recession as well. Those same style of tax cuts (across the board) created more than 20 million jobs during the Reagan years. The exact same is true for the Kennedy years. Most of the Reagan years *and* Bush years, as well as Clinton's years were spent with opposing House and Senate Majorities. Tax cuts for the upper brackets have historically created more jobs, and therefore more revenue from higher economic activity in the resulting economic boom, than their costs in lost tax revenue.

One fact is - prior to Bush Tax Cuts the top 1% (of taxpayers) paid 19% of  Federal Income Taxes (FIT) - After the Bush Tax Cuts the top 1% paid 36% of FIT.

If cutting tax rates on those making more than $250k is going to "Rob the Treasury" how was the above possible?

Here are some more facts:
  • the top 2% of our citizenry represent 25% of all consumer spending
  • 5% account for 37% of all consumer spending
  • The top 1% of taxpayers  paid more than 40% of all Federal Income Taxes (FIT) in 2007
  • 47% of households paid 0% FIT in 2009
  • During 2003-2007 the Federal Deficit fell $217 billion (the Bush years)
  • Currently the top 10% of taxpayers pay 68% of *all* FIT collected

IF all tax rates stay the same from the R's defeating the D's (keeping the Bush tax cuts) in this current economic debate, the main effect will be a lessening of the worsening of our economy. And, that's not such a bad thing.

Tell me how *you* feel, or what you think, by clicking on "Comments" below.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Stop the BS and let's tell the truth...

Every person running Democrat has been misrepresenting the position of most of their Republican or Tea-Party adversaries when it comes to their positions on taxes and trying like hell to revise history on the Bush years.

The Truth is that yes, the current recession began during the Bush Presidency but had nothing to do with the administrations' tax cuts as (most) all Democrats would have us believe.

Yes, the Bush administration agreed to the TARP fund for reasons that looked like were definately anti-Free Market. Yes, the Bush administration had a massive increase in the Education spending and the Prescription Drug program. Bush was/is a moderate (not a small-goverment guy) and, the then Republican-controlled House and Senate exuded no conservative "small government" controls on the growth and size of obligations to the taxpayer.

But, the current recession had nothing to do with any of that. It was the housing bubble bursting and overwhelming the banking system, pure and simple. The economy took a huge blow because the conservatives woke up too late to oppose the subtle and not so subtle changes in the lending/banking laws that also (I might add) ALL Democrats voted for.

So, lets stop all the BS about the Republicans driving the car into the ditch, shall we?

Please tell me what you think - and what you've got to say, by clicking on "Comments" below.

For more background on this subject (a lot more) see; America's Ruling Class -- And the Perils of Revolution -    By Angelo M. Codevilla - is professor emeritus of international relations at Boston University. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Time to be plain & simple

I have undergone a few major transformations in my life, probably not unlike most people, the more years go by, the more transformations - many of which are listed in Gail Sheehey's books - in all their iterations.

But to talk even semi-openly about politics in any public discourse will in fact, freeze your opinions and thinking in time, and state, "this is who I am!" - and most times especially in these days of Facebooking, Googling and Public Online Forums - you can never undo those moments. Many elected officials and even employment opportunities have been effected by past speeches and written thoughts. It is not my intention here to equivocate. So, at some point one must be deliberate and careful lest you reap the consequences later, of an un-thoughtful moment.(**) More than a few times in private discourse I have found myself guilty of just that.

My most recent life-change was based on my personal development after a car accident and the 5-year recovery time from it. (including 6-weeks in intensive care) Having been close to losing my life - I have thought carefully about when to start re-staking my Social and Political positions again, as well as being ever mindful of my own advice . See above(**)

First, my political, and philosophical position and a short history of it. When I was little and a bit too-young to even hold an opinion, I found myself paying more attention to what my parents were saying (or not saying). My mother had few opinions other than what I could and couldn't do :-) at least none she often shared. My father (said, he) was an Eisenhower Republican and when I started listening to his comments at age-nine (9) or so, he was also very much a John Birch Society sorta' guy.

And, sadly, my father's opinions also reflected the more common opinions of that era, that one might associate with a man of his age raised in the Anglo-centric "South". Moreover, my father was not shy in blatantly sharing his opinions with me, even attempting to rationalize them with pseudologic. All of which after age ten (10) or eleven, (11) I stopped taking seriously and began vocally opposing - and still to this day oppose - being a product of the "Love Generation".

Back in my school days, unlike present day, I found then it to be rare if ever, that a teacher would venture a personal political opinion to the class. Furthermore, having been in high school during the Nixon Vietnam War years, my personal, political-social philosophy and opinions bordered on being that of an anarchist... Young and stupid, I know. During those years, having payed attention to the sources I exposed myself to - I was also somewhat "anti-corporate". And, having watched too many formulaic movies over the years, where the big bad evil corporation was always an all-too-easy target, I still have that anti-corporate thing simmering low-down in my guts.

But all that being said - and after some college, I started a short lifetime of reading from multiple sources, including some education or perhaps indoctrination into the finer workings of the American economy. And, also having been trained in earlier years as an NASD multi-licensed Investment Advisor... I can also say that even in the most liberal of scenarios - giving the "Corporation" a free reign with multi-level lobbying influence throughout our "political infrastructure" is probably a bad thing.

Conversely, harshly reigning-in the "Corporation" to the point where it is choked and intimidated through a too-strict tax structure or even adverse statutory meddling can causatively "spook" high net-worth individuals and institutional investors out of risk-taking, business-building ventures. That is also bad, and I believe, a worse thing. But only worse - if you want the country you were born in to do well. If you don't, or have been taught and remember only how bad America is - and happen to be in a progressive, more *evolutionary* frame of opinion, then, go ahead, Make Mao's day.

Today, looking around me, I find the political climate and published discourse within most standard media, to be almost toxic. And, not surprisingly, most all standard media is - Corporate and/or Mainstream. Corporate/Mainstream Media by definition, or has an ongoing, vested financial interest in keeping the public reading, watching or listening to their  (newspaper, magazine, TV newscast, or radio-cast) ads and/or commercials.

This remains true regardless of which political spectrum-point from which the individual piece of "media" speaks. Left, Right, Liberal, Conservative, Balanced or what-have-you. They all need, as a first priority - to keep the conversation going amongst their target audience so they can keep selling their product, (the advertising) which gives the corporation a profit, maintains market share, which makes the investors happy - keeping people employed. Capitalism-Free-Market 101. This is not necessarily or inherently bad... but becomes deceitful and unethical when and if *any* media source fails their audience by not disclosing bias, opinion or personal points of view, in whatever publication or presentation... by whomever, and in whatever, it may be.

Disclosure = good. Hidden Agenda = bad.

The truth of a thing is historically seldom associated with actual truth, but is more simply about getting the largest possible number of people in agreement with a scenaric narrative, (root: see definition #3) that displaces truth. History and history-books can and are being changed - in just this way.

Under the guise of being informative on whatever level, "Corporate/Mainstream Media" has become a de-facto Fourth Branch of government. The media's power under the above disguise (the displacing of truth) is insidious.

The only way for a society  to combat this effect is for us to behave as thinking, patriotic individuals rather than allowing ourselves to be herded together into ideological groups be they large or small. Every individual deserves respect. You were raised with a set of values - those same values you have continued to develop as a thinking, feeling, learning and growing human being. You deserve to be communicated to respectfully, rather than with an undisclosed bias or political ideology which is is disrespectful - and as mentioned above, deceitful.

If we begin to think of ourselves as "the governed" rather than as sovereign individuals our Constitutional Republic will become a veritable "cultural hegemony". (I know that's a mouthful!) This is a concept that states that one *class* of individuals (the elected elite and their patrons) become rulers or dominant over another... class (us). This is the same way (not surprisingly) long-term elected politicians are behaving today. They see the will of a large majority of the people, and then vote in opposition to majority will if it happens to suit their agendas. 

Well guess what? In our Constitutional Republic, the people are sovereign... that means that our elected Representatives vote from the *consent* of the governed... that's us. If the Representative you elect - no longer votes how they are told - the *we* in "We the People" are charged with voting them out. Or, if we've have been groomed,  manicured and trained like horses... and behave as we're told... we therefore, have a ruling class... and have de-volved into servitude.

So, whom to trust? How about only yourself? Inform yourself from all angles and from as many sources as you can make the time for. Be aware of the vested interests of all forms of media and try to sift-out the opinion, from fact, and make up your mind so it is right for You, your Family, your City, your State, your Country and sometimes, yes, even your Planet. That seems to me the right thing, but is also a thing that requires the individual to stop being duped by any single or set of, vested interests. No groups, no constituencies. If your sources of information and reference are all opinion-based and short on balance - then you are doing everyone, especially yourself and your family, a dis-service.

Watch some CNN, some FoxNews, some Network News, Some Local News. Read some books, history, fiction, non-fiction. They all have relevant ideas that will get you to thinking. Buy and read a local paper, *and* a big-citypaper or their online analogs if you are in a small town. Speaking of online, get in your interest group and read some online blogs and *in* that blog they'll mention which blogs they hate, linkout and read some of that... If you are not yet into RSS feeds check them out ,they will save you tons of time and widen your perspective. It's your responsibility to be a complete person not just another bloke with an opinion. If you're not reading anything you disagree with then you are not growing or changing. And if life is about anything, it is about change. My favorite saying is "Change, is the only constant".

Look at the bigger picture. In the average "media du-jour", the message is dumbed-down, aimed at small groups, then lumped-in with a larger groups before being wholesale sold into voting blocks based on ideals and lobby interests that may not be good for us as individuals, families or country! When the platform from which they opinionate, has something to sell - BEWARE. Watch your wallet and sift the opinion for bias.

Look at it like this... twenty percent (20%) of the left - will never change their minds. Twenty percent (20%) of the right will never change their minds. The vast sixty percent (60%) in the middle only need to move a few percentage points in either direction, to sway an election, school board, or Congressional vote. The actual battle (for hearts & minds) is always for that swing vote of several percentage points in the middle. This is why keeping your skeptical eye on the conversation in the media and sifting out the truth is so important.

My advice? Don't be influenced by the sway of the opinion, but by the truth of the matter. Plain and simple.

Today, looking around me - I find my opinions on issues tend to be on the side of small government, limited taxes so business can grow, medical care to those in need and limitations on expansion of welfare/entitlements. No one should go hungry, or suffer, or be in want of necessary medical care. Limit taxes but let's make sure the aforementioned can be accomplished. Within those limits my vote is yours if you will represent my vote in your Federal, State or Municipal elected position.

My position on the state of affairs in our country? Simple and plain.
  1. The fact that Corporate Media has become a virtually a fourth branch of government, is elemental and dangerous enough to warrant extreme vigilance.
  2. Individualism; too many individuals have allowed themselves to be segregated into group identities and have stopped thinking about what's best for them as individuals. An Individual can accomplish anything in a free-market Republic like America.
  3. If there is a safe "group think" that carries with it less harm than good... it's a group of Americans all-inclusive.
  4. Our teeth as self-informative truth seekers have been dulled, softened or even pulled - by our own compliance with, media spoon-fed, believe-what-you-see & hear-most-often, and our lazy natures.
Part of *being* plain and simple is to state one's position so that it is understood by most, and misunderstood by few. So, let me (again) be plain and say that "we, here in the USA, as a culture, are in danger of losing our heretofore national identity. Our previous identity was inherently simple from a cultural point of view... The USA and it's citizens were viewed by ourselves and others as winners and leaders both culturally and economically. Winners in almost every measurable/meaningful category. We used to unequivocally lead the world in so many things. And now? Mostly it depends a little upon whose statistics you are using.

Americans are winners and leaders in standard of living, percentage income per family, education at all levels, disposable income, medical availability, energy production and worker productivity - to name just a few. In many other important measures and categories, we continue to lead.

But arguably, many in which we lead - do not make us look like winners. Prison population, illegal drug use, prescription drug use, highest corporate taxes, obese population, and foreign weapons sales - to also name a few.

Our overall picture is more good than bad, but without question, we can do better. How we can do better is another article so I can keep this one also arguably, plain and simple.

Vote them ALL out. Start fresh with normal citizens in positions of power. They are more afraid of our guns than our brains... and both of those facts should scare you.

Please tell me what you think - and what you've got to say, by clicking on "Comments" below.

We'll talk again.