Saturday, December 18, 2010
The Bush-era tax rates live on! Despite the very best efforts of those of the Democrat persuasion to raise tax rates on the "rich," they were unable to do so. Their rationale was that the "rich" had no right to keep the money they earned. They should forfeit it, I guess, so that those less "rich" could enjoy its redistribution. And you know what "rich" is. That's anybody who makes more money than you do. Thus, the rates that have been in effect for nearly ten years will continue without change. Notice there will be no tax cuts for anybody, including the "rich." Just a continuation of the existing rates of taxation for two more years. But fret not. Two years from now we'll get to revisit this fight when the next general election rolls around. Don't know about you, but I can't wait...
But another aspect of this tax compromise (the Mainstream Media calls it a "compromise" when the Dems had no choice but to capitulate) is that the estate tax will go from zero percent to 35% on estates valued at more than $5,000,000. The Dems wanted 55% over $3.5 Million. The Republicans wanted the estate tax to be abolished once and for all. And so the compromise was one that neither side liked. And one that will once again be rehashed in a couple of years.
Let us take a look at this estate tax deal. You earn some money and you're taxed on it. You invest a little bit of what's left and realize a return and you're taxed on it. You keep investing and earning and you're taxed still more. Yet if your investments fail and you lose, none of that money the government confiscated from you in the form of taxes over the years is returned. So why, I ask, if for no other reason than fairness (WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU SAW SOME OF THAT?), should your heirs be taxed on your estate when you die? And if a little bit of taxation is good, why isn't more better? Instead of 35% or 40% over a certain amount of valuation, how about a taxation rate of 75% from the first dollar? How about 100%? Would that be fair? Would that serve to benefit society? Or would it just make those who like to engage in class warfare feel warm and fuzzy all over?
The heart of an estate may well be a family farm or a machine shop or a couple of 7-11s. They may generate an annual income but may not have liquid assets sufficient to pay off the tax man hovering over the death bed. The farmer dies and his heirs have to borrow against the farm in order to satisfy the taxes. And what if the farm cannot generate enough profits to cover the loan payment? Then the farm has to be sold to make the Democrats and the IRS happy. And the farmer's heirs now have to start all over because of the redistributionist philosophy so warmly embraced by the lefties among us. The business is destroyed for no reason other than to punish those whose forbears were able to amass an estate. Does this make sense to you? It doesn't make sense to me...
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Are you as tired as I am of political speak? You know, the phrases pols use interminably to shovel their pablum down our collective throats? Whether left or right, liberal or conservative, or even independent, these elected preening elites and talking head pundits seem to always use the same catch phrases to make their points. Need examples? Here's a few:
"On the ground." This is usually used to describe what's actually happening where people live and work, or where soldiers are digging foxholes, or in the real world, as opposed to the theoretical and ethereal ivory tower hoped-for results, this phrase would go something like this: "Events are unfolding almost exactly as envisioned, because the successes "on the ground" bely the results correctly anticipated by our highly-qualified supporters and widely vilified by our Godless adversaries." It's simply a way to cap an argument with gobbledygook and sound like you know whereof you speak.
"At the end of the day." A politician or pundit rambles on and on for several paragraphs about this or that with some "on the one hand" and a little bit of "on the other hand" posits, creatively covering all the bases, and winds up with "…so, at the end of the day," we can expect such-and-such to likely occur. This means, I guess, that when all's said and done, the results should be as projected. Unless they aren't. In all fairness, President Clinton used a variation on this theme. His preferred paragraph capper was, "…when the last dog dies."
"Created or saved." This is the one which infuriates me most. The Obama Administration has, it says, "created or saved" 3.5 Million jobs since it stuffed the more than $800 Billion stimulus plan up our collective arses a year and a half ago. "Created," I can understand. But "saved"? The Plan was guaranteed to keep unemployment below 8%. And then it zoomed to nearly 10%. And has, as we're all aware, stayed there. So what's a politician to do? Simple. You just figure out how many jobs you need to have saved, an immeasurable quantity, don't you know, in order to stay in power, and that's the number of jobs you saved. Clever, huh?
"Going/Moving forward." This is pol speak for pay no attention at all to what just happened. Let's focus on the future. So if an elected official wishes to deflect your steely gaze from failed policies, wasted resources, missed opportunities, shaded truths and ethical lapses, he or she only has to say, "…and in summation, 'going forward…" to create a bookmark between the chapters of his bloviation. Don't look back, Mr. and Mrs. America, even though that's where my track record and every indication of what the future holds can be found. Absolutely not. Look only forward. Because that's where the (my) future lay…
There are many others. I'm sure you have some of your own. But let's all agree that we shouldn't need a Rosetta Stone to decipher what our employees in D. C. and Sacramento and even City Hall actually mean by what they are saying. Or, then again, maybe it's better that we don't actually know. At least we won't get sick to our stomachs that way…
Monday, November 29, 2010
Did you notice during the election just ended that the Number One topic of conversation was jobs? It seemed that each and every politician vying for election – or reelection – was touting his or her ability to create jobs. "Just elect me," they all said, "and I'll create jobs." Did you believe them? Neither did I.
What's the deal with these political types? It's pretty obvious they don't know what they don't know. They seem to think there's some mysterious button you push, or bill you pass, or speech you give that creates jobs. Well, here's The Bottom Line: The only jobs government creates are government jobs.
Let's start with a simple fact: Only a tiny percentage of those who will read this have ever created a job, or ever will. That task is left to the entrepreneurs who risk their time, effort, energy and (often plenty of) money for one, and only one reason: They want to make a profit. Remove the profit incentive and opportunity and you remove the willingness to take a risk. And that risk-taking is what creates jobs if and when they're successful. Or, often financial ruin if they fail. And the Number One disincentive to job creation in our Country at the moment is the uncertainty over future tax rates.
The Bush-era tax cuts for the 54% of us who actually pay income taxes (notice I didn't say for the "rich") expires on New Years' Eve. Unless legislation passes between now and then, we'll experience the largest tax hike in American history. Income taxes will go up for everybody, and for some as much as 50%. Taxes on long term capital gains will go up from 15% to ordinary income levels. Inheritance taxes will go from zero to 55%. Does this make sense, especially in a recession? Of course it doesn't. So why are the Democrats so unwilling to extend those tax cuts for everybody, including the so-called "rich?" The answer is Class Warfare. And it's getting very, very old.
According to the Dems, couples making $250,000 or more per year are "rich." Let's see now. An Orange County firefighter and his R.N. wife would easily eclipse that number. Pay the current 35% tax on that income, plus California's up to 10% income tax, plus SSAN, SDI, FUI, Louie, Dewey and Huey taxes, plus property and sales and inventory taxes, and then throw in the mortgage payment and college tuition for Junior and Sis, and you're anything but rich. And if you're a small business owner who's incorporated under Sub Chapter S, you're paying taxes on your gross earnings before you can make corporate investments or take corporate deductions. These are the people who create jobs. These are the people the Democrats want to punish for being successful. These are the people who stand to lose if the Bush-era tax rates sunset. And then We the People will lose because they'll have less discretionary income left to create jobs. Does this make sense to you? To anybody? Oh yes, I forgot. It makes sense to Obama, the current majority in Congress and the DNC.
So here is my prescription for job creation. Ready? Make the Bush-era tax rates permanent for everybody. Permanent. Remove this uncertainty and get the government out of the way and jobs will miraculously appear, just as they did under Harding, Kennedy, Reagan and Bush. And then lower our corporate tax rates from 35%, the second-highest in the world, to no more than 15%. Why the corporate tax decrease? Something like $2,000,000,000,000 (that's trillion with a "T") in corporate profits which have been earned overseas are languishing over there to avoid the imposition of onerous U.S. taxes on them if repatriated. Allow it to come home without a nasty tax penalty and we'd be awash in capital. It's that simple.
What's that I hear? "What do you, The Chuckmeister, know about job creation, and why are you qualified to opine on this subject?" Well, dear reader, I happen to be a graduate economist and actually know whereof I speak. Plus, I've also created hundreds of jobs over my illustrious business career, unlike, by the way, Obama, Reid, Pelosi, Durban, Schumer, Clinton, Frank, Dodd, Dean, and dozens and dozens of other hopey-changey Robin Hoods currently prowling the Halls of Congress looking for some booty to confiscate.
Only 7% of those who serve in the Obama administration have prior private-sector business experience. That's down from 56% in the Bush era. We have Ivy League academicians and theorists trying to manage a capitalistic economy they abhor without the slightest idea of what they're doing. Maybe that's why my simple remedy to the enormous problems we face as a society is so difficult for them to understand.
The Lame Duck Congress reconvenes today. Let's see if the Ruling Party learned anything from the spanking the electorate administered on November 2nd and decides to finally do what's best for our Country by making the current tax rates permanent. I'm not holding my breath…
Friday, November 19, 2010
Something struck me today and it wasn't a Mack truck. I realized that it's been months, MONTHS, since I've seen or heard from Cindy Sheehan. Just a couple of years ago you couldn't turn on the telly without seeing her smiling face. What a nice lady. She was picketing outside of the entrance to President Bush's Crawford, Texas ranch. Or she was excoriating Congress with her anti-war rhetoric. Or she was threatening to run against Diane Feinstein for the Senate because Lady Di wasn't sufficiently anti-war. She was interviewed over and over and over by the broadcast and print media, stating over and over and over that "W" killed her son and that the war was unconstitutional and that we had to leave Iraq, and leave it right now!
And then there was Code Pink. Whatever happened to Code Pink? Medea Benjamin, the Pinko's founder, was chasing Cindy all around America, sputtering out anti-war sound bites at a furious, machine gun pace, each and every one caught on camera by the major networks. You could often find her picketing in front of the U.S. Army recruiting center in beautiful downtown Berkeley. Or leading a peace march down the Capitol Mall. Or getting arrested for her outbursts while Congress was in session. Where are these lovely people now? And why isn't the media continuing to put them on the front page of the newspapers and feature them on the nightly news?
Let's see now. Our new President guaranteed us he'd begin immediate withdrawal from Iraq as soon as he was inaugurated. Ummm. That's like two years ago and we're still there. Oh yeah, the "combat" portion of our military's mission has now been declared over. Funny what you can accomplish by giving an expeditionary force a less bellicose name. And the war in Afghanistan is still humming along, now deep into its ninth year. And it's doing so with about 30,000 more troops than when the Prez took office. Is Cindy or Medea picketing our new President? Are they marching on the White House or leading peace sit-ins at the Capitol? It seems the answer to that question is a big fat "No." Could it possibly be that the only reason that Cindy and Medea and their minions were picketing and fussing and fuming, and the media was gleefully lapping it up, was because there was a Republican inhabiting the White House? Do you have a better answer to that question?
Thursday, November 11, 2010
If you were born in America, you've already won the human lottery. You're luckier than 95% of the world's population, who may well have been born into poverty, suffering, hunger, oppression and political turmoil. And that luck you enjoy was bought and paid for by generations of our forebears who headed the call and fought for us on the battlefields of history as members of our nation's military. This is Veterans Day. Their day. And our day to remember them and the awful price many of them paid so that we can enjoy freedom.
Perhaps those of us who've had the honor to serve have a more acute appreciation of those who still do. The next time you see a member of the Armed Forces, please take a moment and thank them. Thank them for helping to keep you breathing free.
It's been said that, if you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read this in English, thank a soldier…
Thursday, November 4, 2010
I used to feel sorry for Californians, myself included. I felt sorry for them because, with the exception of a couple of years in the early eighties, our beautiful state had been hijacked by the brain-dead Democrats who had been running things in Sacramento for more than four decades. These otherwise unemployables have been uniformly choosing the wrong tax and spend and governance and regulatory policies for even longer than I've lived here (34 years).
They have taken the best public educational system and trashed it. From what was on a par with any public school education in America just a generation ago, we have to now feel lucky there's a Louisiana, a Mississippi and an Alabama, or California would rank last out of the 50 states.
Every survey of business leaders over the past several years ranks California in the bottom two or three states in terms of friendliness to business formation and operation. Maybe that's why so few choose to now relocate or open branch operations here.
Our income taxes are the third-highest in America. Our sales taxes are fourth highest in the nation. Public employee and cop and fire unions are so gargantuan they're strangling our cities and our state with an unfunded pension bomb that's ready to explode in our collective faces. It's to the point that we now work for them, not the other way around. How was that allowed to happen?
Our roads and bridges infrastructure is decaying before our very eyes. Our once-vaunted Central Valley agriculture, which has produced more than 10% of all fruits and veggies in the nation for decades, is now a depression-era dustbowl because some commie pinko weenie in a black robe shut off their water in favor of the Delta Smelt. What's that, you ask? It's a little Anchovy-sized fish that this judge preferred over suffering, drought-stricken, jobless people. So it lives, they die.
San Francisco won't let the ROTC into its schools, prohibits the military from filming commercials inside county limits and won't stop aggressive panhandling, but it will prevent its citizens from buying pets because they might abandon them. And now, San Fran has just passed legislation to prevent McDonald's from selling Happy Meals because they're deemed by the calorie police to be unhealthful. Amazing.
And these same liberal policies have turned Los Angeles into a third world-caliber toilet inhabited by illegal aliens and fourth-generation welfare recipients, sucking up our tax dollars like a Hoover vacuum cleaner on steroids.
So why do I no longer feel sorry for Californians? Because they absolutely refuse to change it. The election just concluded gave Golden Staters one more chance to fix some of our problems and prevent a few others. And what did you do, California? You blew it, big time. You reelected Jerry Brown, a guy who earned the moniker "Moonbeam" when he was the Guv in the seventies. He appointed Rose Bird as Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court. She overturned 62 death penalty cases, every single one that came before her, including the Manson Family killers. He signed the legislation that permitted collective bargaining for public employee unions, which now threatens our State's very economic existence. He vehemently opposed Proposition 13 until it passed, at which time he decided to support it. Flip-Flopper? You decide. After he termed out he ran for and was elected Mayor of Oakland. He was so successful in this job the state was forced to take over their school system. And, he managed to also double their murder rate (one could argue he might have been even more successful if he'd have tripled it!) Then, as our illustrious Attorney General, he refused to defend Proposition 8 in the courts even though he was obligated by law and his oath to do so. And I don't care what you think about gay marriages. Prop. 8 made it illegal and good old 'Jer had a duty to defend us, the citizens of California against it, despite his personal views on the subject. The Attorney General, nor any sworn official, does not have the right to pick and choose the laws they wish to support. A pox on his house. And now, Jerry Brown will now likely live out his life without ever having had a private-sector job. Imagine. You get kicked out of the Jesuit seminary and then feed at the public trough for the rest of your liberal little, otherwise unprepossessing life. Astounding.
Then there's Barbara Boxer. You reelected her, too. After three terms in Washington, during which she earned the lowest possible rankings as to effectiveness, you sent her back for another six years. She's never had a real job either. Never met a payroll. Never signed a check on its face. Knows nothing about job creation. What she does know is that partial birth abortion is the preferred method. Oh, and she knows how to spend our money. She voted for tax increases 258 times during her ho-hum tenure. Even her home-town newspaper refused to endorse her, saying she was an ineffective and ineffectual senator and should be put out to pasture. And you decided to send her back. Either of Jerry's or Bab's opponents would have been preferable to these preening elite losers, but you decided differently.
Now let's talk the measures. You failed to pass Prop. 19, the pot legalization measure. That was surprising to me, because I assume everyone here had to be high on weed to have voted the way they did.
You voted down Prop. 23, our last and best hope to derail AB32, the Global Warming Solutions Act, which Schwarzenwhoozits signed into law in 2006. That's the one whereby California decided to fix the world's climate problem all by itself, by rolling back greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, representing a 40% reduction. Of course, the experts say doing that would be impossible without taking every single car and truck off the road, but hey, nothing appears impossible to those nice folks in Sacto. And maybe the commute will get shorter once all the cars and trucks are gone. So, AB32 kicks in on January 1, 2011, and the next sound you'll hear will be the doors slamming shut on U-Haul trucks as businesses prepare to vacate Caleeeforneea. And they'll take at least 1,000,000 jobs with them. And your electric bill will double or triple after they go. The only ones left will be Starbucks baristas selling lattes to sign twirlers. I've said before and I say again, if you believe that carbon dioxide, that stuff plants breathe and you exhale, is a greenhouse gas, please stop exhaling.
And Prop. 25? Yep, it passed. That's the one that lets those Sacto lifers pass a budget with a vote of 50% plus one. No more 2/3rds supermajority needed. So the Dems can now pass a budget without a single Republican vote. You think taxes may go up? I do. And often. Why, I ask, do we even need a Republican party anymore? Truth is, we don't. That single-party parliamentary-style deal has worked so well in other countries, we should now formalize it for California. You know, like Cuba, and North Korea, and China and Russia. We're well on our way.
So, California, I no longer feel sorry for you. You did it to yourselves. You have turned our California into Greece, and now you've wasted your last, best chance to correct it before our Ship of State hits the rocks. We've finally reached the tipping point. That's where the statist, big government-loving weenies and the hand-out welfare crowd are able to vote themselves stuff at the expense of those few remaining folks who actually produce in our society. I still feel sorry for myself, for my family and for my friends. But I don't feel sorry for the rest of you who made this sorry likelihood possible. I hope you're happy with yourselves.
By the way, if you take a look at the red-blue map after it was updated following the election, which shows a sliver of blue along each coast and most of the remainder of our country in a bright, bright, all-American victory red, you'll have to ask; could it be salt air that's causing all this liberal craziness?
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
I understand President Obama has secured nationwide network time for tomorrow afternoon to comment on today's election and its anticipated aftermath. I have it on good authority from a D.C. insider friend of mine that his speech will start with, "A funny thing happened to me on my way to Mount Rushmore."
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Just Stay Home on Election Day
It's a fact that at least eighty million Americans who are eligible to vote are not registered to vote. It's a fact that less than one-half of all Americans who were registered to vote have actually voted in the last several national elections. And it's a fact that, notwithstanding the impact of the Electoral College, less than one-quarter of all Americans who could have voted elected the last four Presidents.
In view of these facts, I thought it might prove helpful to weigh in with my humble opinion on this important and timely issue. Rather than joining in the chorus of those hoping to create new voters from among the heretofore uninterested and complacent with only a couple of weeks until the election, I take the exact opposite approach. I suggest that those who don't make it their business to study the issues and form educated opinions about the myriad challenges facing our State and our Nation should stay home on Election Day. Those unconversant about our out-of-control Federal spending, or outsourcing of jobs overseas, or the mortgage meltdown mess, or privatizing Social Security, or the perennial, crippling spending and budget problems in Sacramento, or the interminable war on terror, or continued unacceptable levels of unemployment, or finally fixing illegal immigration once and for all, etc., etc., should simply stay home on Election Day.
I suggest that those who believe government creates any kind of jobs other than government jobs should stay home on Election Day. I suggest that those who want to increase taxes on the job-producing "wealthy," you know, the 5% who already pay almost half of all income taxes, should stay home on Election Day. I suggest that those who might choose to become involved only because of a single, burning, hot-button issue, like saving the whales or ending global warming (or whatever they choose to call it these days), should stay home on Election Day. I suggest that those who believe America owes them anything other than the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness should stay home on Election Day. I suggest that those who believe in the forced redistribution of wealth from those who produce it to those who don't should stay home on Election Day. I suggest that those college students who wouldn't know a W-2 if they tripped over it and who get all teary-eyed about "hope" and "change," should stay home on Election Day. I suggest that those who believe it's okay to hijack one-sixth of our economy on a strictly party-line vote late on a Christmas Eve with the intent of gutting what was the very best health care system on Earth should stay home on Election Day. I suggest that those who get their information about politics solely from watching TV ads from either party should stay home on Election Day. I suggest that those who can't decide between a candidate for Governor who created 15,000 jobs and one who managed to double Oakland's murder rate should stay home on Election Day. I, for one, am alarmed at the thought my vote might once again be marginalized by someone unwilling to educate and inform themselves on the issues, as have I. All good citizens should be as well.
So, I offer my thanks in advance to those with no business voting who decide to take my advice and stay home on Election Day. To all the others, I say, "See you at the polls on November 2nd!"
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Have you been following the ongoing kerfuffle in Congress over the Bush Tax Cuts? You know, the legislation passed almost ten years ago to reduce taxation rates across all income categories in a very successful attempt to spur growth in the economy and increase revenues to the Treasury? Like tax cuts almost always do? Well folks, those tax cuts sunset at midnight on New Year's Eve. If not extended in some form or fashion, what would then follow is the largest single tax increase in American history. And, given that Congress has just adjourned without action on this all-important matter bodes ill for everyone that draws a paycheck.
Congressional Democrats want to extend the tax cuts only for the so-called "middle class" and let them expire for the "rich." Rich, in this context, is defined by the Dems as those in the top 2% of wage earners. That's individuals making over $200,000 annually, and couples earning more than $250,000. Think of it as the income of your experienced fireman and the nurse he's married to. They're now rich, you see, whether they feel "rich" or not. Republicans want to extend the cuts for everyone. The President tells us we simply can't afford the $700 Billion it would cost us over 10 years to grant such largesse to those nasty rich people. Cost? There's no cost to leaving things exactly the way they are. And if cost is the issue, why aren't they focusing on the $3+ Trillion it would cost over the next decade to extend those same tax cuts for the middle-class? How, I ask, could it possibly cost us to allow those productive individuals among us to keep that extra money that they earn? That's the money with which they can invest and build companies and buy equipment and hire people. And yes, cars and houses and planes, which keep people employed building them. They are already disproportionately paying over three times the lowest tax rates. In fact, the top 2% already pay more than 25% of all income taxes. It seems to me that's punishment enough for being successful.
Where did all this class warfare come from? Why are the Dems on Capitol Hill so dedicated to penalizing the only folks who can reasonably get us out of this economic morass? I can come up with only one reason. They believe that all the money is really theirs, to do with as they see fit. And they believe they can spend it far better than can we. And redistribute it better, too, selectively buying votes in the process. It's been noted you can't make poor people rich by making rich people poor. Winston Churchill once remarked that trying to tax ourselves into prosperity is like standing in a bucket and trying to lift ourselves up by the handle. I close with one key question: When was the last time a poor person hired anybody?
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
It bears repeating that the Democrats took control of both houses of Congress on January 20, 2007. That's nearly four years ago. Nancy ("You've got to pass the (healthcare) bill so we can find out what's in it.") Pelosi, Speaker of the House, and Harry ("This war is lost!") Reid, Majority Leader of the Senate, have worked hand-in-hand with Barack Hussein ("America is the greatest country on Earth. Join with me as we begin to fundamentally transform it.") Obama, POTUS, to grow our Federal debt from $9.2 Trillion amassed over a 230 year period ending with President Bush, to $13.45 Trillion today. More than $4 Trillion dollars of increased debt in just a bit over one and one-half years. And remember that then-Senator Obama voted for every single appropriations bill that he now oversees, and that now threatens our kids' future. Democrats are responsible for every dollar appropriated, every dollar spent and every dollar of increased indebtedness. Our Federal debt now equals more than 90% of our Gross National Product. By the time Obama leaves office, our debt will completely eclipse our GNP. That's Greek territory, folks. So if Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal are threatening the very existence of the European Union, can our economy be far behind? Oh, by the way. Yes, I'm a graduate economist, so I actually do know a little bit about this subject.
Remember that the whole housing crisis was caused by Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, Democrat leaders of their respective banking committees in the House and the Senate. They loosened requirements for home loans to the point where only a heartbeat was necessary to qualify. Then they forced Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy up the bogus mortgages. Then they cut up the tranches of mortgages into little pieces and sold them off as solid securities around the world. Tens of thousands of folks who should have never purchased homes soon started defaulting on their mortgages, driving home prices into the cellar. That's why we as a country and the whole wide world are in this colossal mess. This was a Democrat plan, a Democrat policy and a Democrat debacle.
So folks, as we head into the "silly season," don't be hoodwinked by those who attempt to evade responsibility for our sorry situation. Those who elect to vote on November 2nd for politicians who believe in more and bigger government, ever increasing taxes, borrowing and spending on a monumental scale, redistribution of somebody else's wealth, class warfare, government takeovers and bailouts and ever more onerous regulations which are squeezing the private sector into near oblivion, I invite them to do so. Pull that lever remembering you're entitled to your own opinions. But you're not entitled to your own facts...
Friday, August 27, 2010
Is it just me or is this judicial activism thing way out of control? It seems like only yesterday that a judge overturned Proposition 187. 1994 it was, and one could argue that this judge's action has cost Californians billions and billions of dollars each and every year since. Then there was a Supreme Court Justice named David Souter who wrote the majority opinion in overturning a lower court decision in the case of Kelo vs. City of New Haven to rule that it's quite alright to take private property from individuals and give it to another PRIVATE concern, if that action is expected to generate increased tax revenues. Holy eminent domain, Batman. His opinion tortured the Constitution .almost beyond recognition. Now Sonja Sotomayor, a newly-appointed Supreme Court Justice, said during her confirmation hearings that the individual right of the people to keep and bear arms, otherwise known as the Second Amendment, is "settled law." In her first test of that under-oath declaration, she voted against McDonald vs. City of Chicago. No thanks to her, that basic American right was reaffirmed in this landmark case on a 5-4 decision. That too-close vote demonstrates vividly that our Republic is hanging, literally, by a thread. There are many, many more examples that could be cited, but hey, you get the idea...
It seems to me we're wasting tons of money, scads of manpower and loads of time voting on measure which may well be overturned down the line by somebody in a black robe. Maybe it would be a better idea to simply put together a list of all the thorny issues we as a people face. These could include abortion, religious freedom, offshore drilling, onshore drilling, drilling in general, corporal punishment, the death penalty, drug use and abuse, smoking in public, or smoking anywhere for that matter, universal health care, global warming, or whatever they're calling it these days, amnesty for illegals (oh, I'm sorry, Undocumented Democrats), forced unionization and the redistribution of wealth from the productive to the less than, to name but a very few. Then we could simply send this list off to all the state and federal judges for their exalted opinions. Once we've received their consensus from on-high on what's okay and what's not for We the People, we could simply implement those edicts from our ivory-tower overseers and eliminate this whole messy voting thing once and for all. Then we could change our national motto from "E Pluribus Umum" to "Welcome to Venezuela. Check Your Guns at the Door."
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
...paid no attention whatsoever to the will of its people, choosing rather to do whatever the ruling class wished;
...would not secure or guard its borders, even to the extent of suing one of its own states for attempting to do so;
...raided the pocketbooks of the productive class unmercilessly, and then, due to issues of "fairness," redistributed that wealth to those who choose not to work for it;
...turned its back on the residents of one of its coastal regions in the time of crisis, preferring rather to keep its union members as solid friends and supporters;
...forced its citizens to, for the first time in history, buy something - anything - in clear violation of the Constitution upon which the country was based, that they did not want, did not need, could not afford and loudly protested against;
...continually lied to its citizens, saying whatever was expedient at the time simply to win votes from various minority constituents and greedily consolidate power;
...borrowed more than twice as much in the its leadership's first full year as the entirety of the federal debt amassed during the preceding 221 years and 43 presidents combined;
...grew government so massively in one and one-half years that, from a piddling 7% of the economy in the control of the government when the current administration took power, more than half is now owned or controlled by the union-backed executive;
...stiffed the corporate bond holders of a car company of their first-in-line position when a car company pulled the plug and then redistributed their constitutionally-guaranteed ownership to a union;
...worked tirelessly to redefine the 27 little words that guaranteed its citizens the right to keep and bear arms in an all-out effort to disarm and make serfs of the public;
...hired 37 "czars" who are unknown to its citizens and unvetted by its legislature, performed tasks known to no one but the executive but were paid entirely by the citizenry.
I submit that such a country would rather quickly find itself in the midst of a civil war. Except that this time, it wouldn't be between the north and the south. It would be between the states and the centralized government. Given that each and every day in this country could very well bring a new assault on freedoms, that day appears to be coming, and rapidly. In about 90 days the citizens of this country may vote to affirm this brand of leadership, or chooose to overturn it. We shall soon learn which...
Thursday, July 29, 2010
You may not know that I was big into Scouting. I became a Cub Scout at 5 or 6. I progressed quickly to Webelos, and then on to Boy Scouts. From Tenderfoot to Star to Life and on to Eagle Scout, I rose quickly through the ranks. When I became an Eagle I had 44 Merit Badges, plus a God and Country Award with Oak Leaf Clusters. I was selected to become a member of Tribe of Micoseh, an honorary American Indian tribal fraternity (quite like the Order of the Arrow, if you're more familar with that). I was first a Brave (Brave Many Thunder Sticks), and then a Warrior and finally a Chief. In short, I was into Scouting. Big time. It taught me to be a good citizen, and a man.
So why to I take you through all these machinations? Because today our Commander-in-Chief, President Barack Hussein Obama, chose to do a stint on "The View," an ABC daytime TV show, rather than accepting the invitation from the Boy Scouts of America to address their gathering in Virginia. Hanging out with Joy Bahar and Whoopi and Babs to him was preferable and obviously more important than to hanging out with 46,000 fine young Americans on the 100th Anniversary of American Scouting. What else can I say? What else needs to be said?
Monday, July 19, 2010
Then one day I decided to exercise my Eagle Scout ingenuity and became proactive. I jumped on the computer and Googled "chili recipes." What popped up was a couple of hundred thousand of them! I spent literally months reading recipes. I ordered the International Chili Society's book of winning recipes back to Carroll Shelby's first competition in Terlingua, TX. I read each recipe trying to determine by its ingredients what it might taste like and how closely it might emulate Mom's chili. Finally I hit upon one that looked enticing; it was Steve Spurrier's "Chili for Ten." He had come up with this little gem while Head Coach of Florida State Football. I decided to put it to the test. I made it.
Wow! It was good! Not great, but very, very good. I made mental notes as to what I thought it might need to taste more like Mom's and then made it again. But my friends who had tasted the first batch grew in number. So I grossed it up to "Chili for 20." And did it again, with modifications to the amount and number of its ingredients, ever trying to improve it. I kept making more and more of it to satisfy my hungry fans, especially at my annual Super Bowl parties. The recipe grew over the years to enough for 30, then 40, and 50, and then to 60, 70 and 80. Finally I just threw out all the stops and started making enough chili to feed 100 guests in a pot the size of Rhode Island. And each batch got better and better. It was suggested I enter my creation in a local pub's chili cook off. I did. It won. I then decided I would retire undefeated. No more contests for me. Right...
Just this past weekend our local American Legion Post #291 hosted the second annual Surf Fest. For those of you who don't know, this is the only Legion in America that's right on the water in Newport Beach. It has its own yacht club and boasts about 6,000 members. It's pretty damn special to us, its members, and usually blows away guests who visit it for the first time. Its Sons of the American Legion's leaders came up with the Surf Fest concept to raise money for children's charities. It has all the ingredients for success: surf bands (Chantays, Surfaris, Fabulous Thunderbirds, Jan and Dean Show, etc.), old woodies and hot rods, lots of food and drink, wonderful, sunny So. Cal. weather and a chili cook off! What's not to like? So, I decided to put my undefeated status on the pass line and entered.
There were 19 of us cooking that day. It was all "people's choice," so each chili was different from every other. But they were all the same in terms of the intensity and enjoyment of the cooks. We welcomed about 1,000 attendees and each eagerly went from booth-to-booth tasting the entrants' chili. Ours too. My wife, Elaine, and I arrived before 7:00 to set up our pop-up, tables, stove, etc and heat up our concoction. Two of my daughters and their hubbies showed up to assist. We started serving at noon and had to turn in our offering for totally blind judging at 1:30 p.m. Thereafter we served chili all afternoon until it ran out, listened to the great music and imbibed on the "lemonade" we had brought along especially for that purpose. A quintessential SoCal day.
Then the announcer took the stage. Steve Porter, a friend, boat captain, long-time member and Chief Judge of the Chili Society, and one-time winner of third-in-the- world, announced the winner of Best Booth. Then the Best Theme. Then he announced Third Place. Not me. Then Second Place. Not me again. I had my fingers crossed, not wishing to be blown out so publicly. Not to worry. Steve then stated, "We're never gonna' hear the end of this, our First Place Winner is Chuck Cassity!" The crowd erupted in applause! I thrust my aging hands high into the air. It felt great to have my creation recognized and to take home the trophy, which is roughly the size of a Major League baseball(!). I won't have to work hard to find a place to display it. It would fit almost anywhere. Oh, and by the way, a little cash came with it, but just about enough to cover the cost of the chili and entrance fee. But it was a great day and we all had a fine, exhausting and rewarding time. I might even do it again next year. Hey, even if I don't win, I'm still batting .667, right!
Memo to Dana: See kid, I can write a whole blog entry without a single political reference...
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Bolden indicated to his interviewer that he'd been tasked by President Barack Hussein Obama to reorder NASA's priorities. A new mission to the Moon, you might guess? Noooo. How about Mars? No again. POTUS' Number One Priority, Bolden proudly proclaimed, was to lead an outreach to Muslim nations to make them "feel better" about their contributions to science and math and engineering. Yep, you read that right. A Dr. Phil-style "group hug" therapy session for one-fifth of the World's population to help them with their self esteem. Remember all the scientific breakthroughs the Muslim nations have achieved in science and math and engineering and space travel? Neither do I.
Why, you might ask, would this be NASA's job? Yes, WHY? If this is necessary, and I stress "if," wouldn't it be better delivered by the State Department? Maybe the Post Office could deliver this message. Well, since BHO has seriously defunded NASA, to the extent even that we'll soon go into space only by renting a chair on a Russian Soyuz rocket at the cost of $51 Million per round trip, NASA has very little left to do. Its braniest team members are leaving in droves. It even lacks the funding to perform routine maintenance on its core systems. It's in the process of moth-balling its space shuttles and can't afford to replace them. So, given that NASA doesn't have much to do, I guess the thinking was, hey, let's send them to the sands of Arabia to make nice with the sheiks. Therefore, I suggest we change NASA's name to NAMOA...the National Aeronautics and Muslim Outreach Agency.
One Hundred and Eighteen Days until November 2nd. I'm counting them down. I hope you are too...
Monday, June 28, 2010
The 2nd Amendment reads:
"A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
Seldom has 27 little words caused so much angst and anxiety, confusion, heated debate and outright torturing of meaning by those unable or unwilling to understand the written word. Those unaware of the controversy need to step back a bit and review history. To wit:
The 1st Amendment to our Constitution gives us all the right of free speech (plus other related rights). The 2nd gives us the right to keep and bear arms, no doubt to help us defend the Amendment just before it. It is no accident they were written in this order. But ever since the ink was drying on this hallowed document, those on the left have been trying to eliminate it, minimize it or simply change its straightforward pronouncement into something never intended by the framers. And they had a lot of sympathizers, including Stalin, Marx, Hitler, Pol Pot, Chavez and Castro, to name but a few. And because of this, those who love liberty and want to protect it have been working tirelessly to reaffirm it. That reaffirmation happened today.
For purposes of background, The Roberts Court passed down its landmark ruling on Heller v. Washington, D.C. in July, 2008. Heller, as you may remember, was a retired soldier, a D.C. cop, a private eye and a bodyguard. In these capacities he had the right to carry a weapon concealed. But due to D.C.'s arcane gun laws, he couldn't keep his handgun at home. He had to stop by Union Station and lock up his pistol in a train station locker each evening and then pick it up on his way to work the next morning. As stupid as this may sound, that was their law, and its been their law for the last 40 years. During that 40 years, I might add, their murder rate has increased more than 340%. So Heller sued, and with the help of the NRA, he prevailed. D.C.'s gun ban was overthrown.
By the way, you might be interested to note that two rather well-known people signed amicus (friend-of-the-court) briefs on behalf of D.C.; that would be then Illinois State Senator. B. H. Obama and then Chicago lawyer Eric Holder. That tells you all you need to know about their motivations and all you need to know about the regard they hold for our Bill of Rights.
So was the fight over? Not by a long shot (pun intended). A then little-known judge turned down an appeal on gun rights brought because of this ruling, stating emphatically that Heller v. D.C. applied only to "Federal enclaves." D.C., of course, is just such an enclave. All other cities, counties and states were not affected by this ruling, the judge stated. That judge was one Sonja Sotomayor, now a Supreme put there by B. H. Obama. You should know also that during her confirmation hearings, Sotomayor was asked if she'd gotten religion since the Heller decision. She stated emphatically that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental American right. We'll see...
Oh, don't let me forget to mention that as this is written, Elena Kagen is undergoing confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill. This lady is no doubt very smart. But having never been a judge, she's woefully short of real-world judicial experience against which we can evaluate her prospective performance as a Justice. But one thing we do know. In the 1990's she worked with the Clinton Administration in its effort to eviscerate the 2nd Amendment. These efforts included banning so-called "assault weapons" (semi-auto deer rifles, as an example) and limiting the importation of certain guns they thought looked scary. In one of her more famous pronouncements, she stated that the National Rifle Association and the KKK were pretty much equal in terms of being a threat to the nation. "Bad guy orginizations," she called them.
Enter a retired black Chicago janitor named Otis McDonald. He lives in a downtrodden, inner-city project and feared for his life. He wanted to buy a gun to protect himself and his family. Due to Chicago's onerous gun laws (Chicago and its forty suburban cities outlawed handguns more than 30 years ago), McDonald was refused in his efforts to take advantage of his Constitutionally-protected rights. Youshould know that since this ban went into effect, Chicago's murder rate has increased 340%. 52 were shot just this past weekend, eight fatally. So much for outlawing handguns. With the assistance of the NRA, once again, McDonald sued. Now President Obama and Attorney General Holder, ever predictably, once again signed on backing Chicago. McDonald lost. They appealed. They won. Chicago appealed. It went all the way to the Supreme Court. The case was heard this past February. The decision was handed down today; McDonald prevailed on a 5-4 decision. Sotomayor, by the way, voted with the minority despite her earlier proclamations concerning the 2nd Amendment and the fundamental rights to our citizens it conveys. Can you say disingenuous?
And don't let anyone try to tell you that the words preceding "...the right of the people..." define or refine or limit or reduce the breadth of the 2nd Amendment. The words preceding the second comma is termed a "preamble." Remember that when the Bill of Rights was crafted there was no TV, or radio, or telegraph, or Pony Express, or telephone, or internet to inform the people. There were only a very few newspapers and only the people in the bigger cities and towns got the chance to read them. So our framers chose to give us "reasons" before the "rights" we were granted so we'd know out in the hinterlands what they were doing and why they were doing it. There are preambles before many of the Rights in the Bill, including the 4th, the 10th and the 14th. So, simply disregard everything before the stated right, including the whole militia thing, and you'll know what was intended. And that's not my take on the subject. That's the opinion of the majority of the Justices of the Supreme Court.
So folks, 219 years after the Bill of Rights was consecrated, you finally have the right to buy a gun anywhere in the 50 states, and keep it handy to protect yourself and your family. And not just from bad guys. The 2nd Amendment wasn't written solely to enable you to protect yourself from robbers and thieves and rapists and murderers. Rather, it was written for you to be able to protect yourself from those in the government who might engage in tyranny. And remember, this right of yours which was reaffirmed today was voted through by the thinnest of majorities, 5 to 4. What we were told today is that four sitting, left-wing ideologue Supreme Court Justices voted to strip you of your rights under the 2nd Amendment. They either cannot read, or cannot understand what was written, or, far more likely, they chose not to interpret what was written in a way that benefits us Americans as was intended. They want to pick and choose what parts and pieces of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights they believe have merit and worth, according to their political philosophies, and which should just be eliminated altogether. Elections have consequences, people. When you go to the polls in 2012, you're not just voting for a president. Because Presidents select Justices, you're voting to retain or lose the rights given you under our Constitution. Pick the wrong candidate and we could be France or even Venezuela by the time the dust settles. Think about it...
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Some of you might know that my youngest daughter, Jennifer, just made a mid-course career correction. She decided she wanted to become a professional photographer and give up her Dilbert-style cubicle at Universal Music Group here in Hollywood. So, she dedicated most of a year to UCLA extension courses, bought a really cool camera and laptop with all the requisite PhotoShop software, practiced like crazy and made her way off to Mackinac Island, MI, where she's been hired for the season as Lead Photographer for the Grand Hotel. Never heard of the Grand?
According to Conde-Naste, the Grand is one of the 100 top hotels in the world. It's situated on an island 4 miles off the coast of the very tip of the northern Michigan peninsula on the straits between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. It's so far north they enjoy enviable views of the Northern Lights late in the summer. Think of a straight line between Minneapolis and Ottawa and you've got it. But this island is special for a number of important reasons.
Mackinac (pronounced Mackinaw) Island was first occupied by local Indian tribes (Huron, Chippewa, etc.). Then the French built a fort there to protect their fur trappers and traders in the late 1700s. The British then kicked out the Frogs following the French and Indian War. The Indians, it seemed liked the French a lot a whole lot better then they did the Limeys. So they played a little kick ball out front of the Fort as a diversion while most of their happy band of warriors stormed the battlements from the rear. Not a single Brit drew air following that encounter. Nasty fellows, those natives, especially when forced to give up French cuisine in favor of fish and chips.
Then came the Americans. After we made toast out of the English in the Revolutionary War, we took over. We ran the Fort and the Island until the 1840s, when the French came back for Round Two. They took back the Island without a shot being fired. Seems like they took a page from the Indian playbook and came in through the back side of the Island. All the American cannons were aimed toward the harbor, and the French sneaked up from behind. Sneaky bastards, the French.
Eventually we retook the fort when the French decided they weren't very good at this whole "war thing" and went on home to make wine, smoke cigarettes and eschew bathing. By the way, they're still not. Do you know how many Frenchmen it takes to defend Paris? Neither do they. They never tried...
Anyway, things pretty well just idled along on the Island from then on. The Grand Hotel was built in the 1870s. From a fairly inauspicious beginning, it was to become the largest wooden structure east of the Mississippi. Some of you may know that the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego has the honor of being the largest wooden structure west of the Big Muddy, so this gives you some idea of the Grand's size and import. And since there's no roads our bridges to the Island, a thriving ferry business developed. Both the Hotel and the ferries are still humming along. And then they decided to outlaw motorized vehicles from the Island in the early 1900s. They worried that those loud, smelly cars might scare the horses. And they have horses aplenty. About 600 saddle, pack and draft horses, consisting mostly of Percherons, pull freight wagons and tourist taxis throughout the season. No cars, no motorcycles, no lawnmowers. Lots of clip-clop, clip-clop, however. By the way, do you know what goes, "clip clop, clip clop, bang bang, clip clop, clip clop?" An Amish drive-by shooting. And as to Percherons, these fellas are BI - II - II - GG! They tip the scales around 2,000 pounds and are about half again taller than your average quarter horse. And they have lots of Percheron Poo also. Check out Mike Rowe's "Dirty Jobs" Mackinac segment on YouTube if you'd like an up-close and personal report on horsey exhaust. Enlightening.
The Hotel is something special. 375 rooms. The longest covered porch in America (990 feet long). Enormous dining room that can seat more than a thousand at a time for Five Star gourmet meals. Dress for dinner? Please! The Esther Williams Pool is so large (more than 120 yards long!) it costs $20,000 per month to heat it up to 84 degrees during the season. Some of you may recall "Somewhere in Time," the Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour movie, that was filmed there in the 1970s. No? Rent it. You'll get a great overview of the Hotel and the Island. It's situated on 50 acres of prime view property, overlooking the harbor. It's expensive. But hey, when your daughter works there, friends and family discounts apply. So, we took advantage. We're retired, okay?
To get to Mackinac Island takes commitment. We boarded a red eye from LAX to Chicago. Then a commuter jet for the hour long trip to Traverse City, MI. Then we rented a car and drove the 100-plus miles to Mackinaw City, MI. Then took the ferry across the Straits of Huron and we were finally there after more than 14 hours of travel. But one thing we noticed upon first arriving. Elaine had her luggage. I didn't have mine.
Apparently United Airlines couldn't be bothered to honor Item # 3 on their website-listed Customer Commitments: To get your luggage to you intact and on time. And since dressing for dinner requires a coat and tie, and since my coat and tie were were still in my luggage in Chicago, we weren't able to partake in the formal dining experience we'd paid for that evening.
My luggage and I were finally reunited about 10:00 p.m. that evening when a guy named "Mark" finally delivered it. I wondered then and I wonder now how much it must have cost United to pay a guy to drive two-plus hours to bring me my luggage. I'm reminded of the old saying, "There's never time to do it right, but there's always time to do it over." Oh well, misplaced luggage happens, even when you pay your carrier $25.00 per bag to make sure it doesn't.
Following a fun and relaxing vacation, we departed Mac Island last Saturday morning. We reversed the travel schedule. Drive back to Traverse City, turn in the car, board the commuter plane, return to O'Hare, hop on a 757 and return to LAX. There we discovered that - lo and behold - we once again had no luggage. Somehow United managed (or mismanaged) not to transfer our bags from the commuter to the big jet. So we drove home that night sans bags. At least, we thought, we'd get them early the next day, Father's Day, in time to celebrate the occasion with our family. We were wrong...
We got a call that Sunday morning that our bags had indeed been located (Whew!). And that they would be delivered to us sometime day. When, we asked? We were given a "window" of somewhere between 7:00 a.m. and 2;00 p.m. A seven hour window to drive two pieces of luggage from LAX to our home, a scant 35 miles? You could walk that distance, pulling our luggage behind you and make it quicker than that. We were, to put it mildly, not at all pleased.
A non-English speaker finally delivered our bags at 2:00 p.m. sharp. And I promptly wrote a letter to Mr. Glenn Tilton, CEO of United Airlines. I commented to Mr. Tilton that, if United persists in charging its customers $25.00 for each bag they check, they should at least pay rent of the same $25.00 for each bag they misplace or fail to deliver. Thus, I told Mr. Tilton, that he owes us $75.00. And until or unless we get the check, I told Tilton, we'll decline to darken United's door. If United is the only way to get somewhere from here on, I told Mr. Tilton, I'll just stay home. A fella' can only take so much abuse, right?
I'm here to report that a visit to Mackinac Island is a real hoot. You truly go back in time. And if you go there this summer, you just might be able to take advantage of the friends and family discount while my daughter is there. Call me. And that stepping over and around horse poo gives one considerable exercise. And also that the Grand is truly grand, just as the Great Lakes are truly great. The land is pretty flat, the people are very nice, there's fudge shops galore on the Island, the state government sucks and the food is marginal. But, all in all, it's a great horse-filled experience. If you choose to go, however, you might want to choose a carrier to you there other than United...
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
I don't now about you, but this is the first time in my memory that another country's leader had the temerity to trash one of our state in public, and the first time the majority Democrats in Congress gave somebody a standing "O" for so doing. Figuring that Senor Calderon wouldn't have the cajones to complain about our immigration laws unless Mexico's were above reproach, I did a little research on the subject. Here's what I came up with:
If you enter Mexico illegally you get two years' hard labor and are then deported. No passing "Go," no collecting 200 pesos. And if you break in again, it's ten years.
Of course, if you try to come in from countries along Mexico's southern border, such as Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala, you'll face its army and a bevy of machine guns pointed in your direction. And they're known to use them. With extreme prejudice.
Assuming you come across legally, you'll then face a daunting list of conditions and requirements. You may not participate in any political action. You have no freedom of speech. You may not march, protest, wave signs and placards, or attempt to influence public opinion.
Mexican citizens are given preference in hiring over foreign nationals, even those with visas and proper documentation. Only citizens may serve in Mexico's armed forces, on airline crews, or at seaports and airports.
Members of both houses of congress and the Supreme Court must all be natural-born Mexicans. Immigrants - even legal ones - may not serve in the clergy. Foreigners, legal or illegal, may not own land. Any Mexican citizen may arrest illegals and their accomplices and turn them over the authorities. Foreigners may be expelled at any time, for any reason or for no reason.
According to their immigration laws, and these are direct quotes, you will be barred from entry if your presence "...upsets the equilibrium of the national demographics." You will not be granted legal residency unless you can prove that you and your dependents will be "...a useful element for the Country," that you will "...contribute to the national progress," and that you have "...the necessary funds for sustenance."
And once you finally get you visa, if you violate it, you're guilty of a felony, which gets you six years in the slammer, and it's not a nice slammer. There's more, but hey, space is limited.
Well now. Calderon must believe Mexico's immigration laws are far superior to our own. Otherwise he wouldn't have shot off his mouth. It makes sense then for us to start the process by adopting his. Then, with our most excellent friend and neighbor to the south, we can work toward a mutually beneficial compromise.
And while we're doing that, GO ARIZONA!
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
But Ahhnoolllddd leaves a legacy worth noting upon his overdue departure. He championed Proposition 14, which passed yesterday, June 8, 2010. It appears P.T Barnum was right; you can never go broke underestimating the intellect of the American people.
Simply stated, Prop. 14 changes the primary election process for congressional, statewide and legislative races, allowing voters to choose a candidate regardless of the candidate's or voter's political party. The two with the highest number of votes would appear on the general election ballot regardless of party. Sounds innocuous enough, doesn't it? Upon first blush, I would agree. But look a little bit below the surface with me, okay?
California is a red state with four or five blue counties. Unfortunately, those blue counties contain the majority of our 35,000,000 population. And those counties also contain most of unemployed, illegal, unproductive users among us who contribute little and take everything. They will vote their pocketbook. Or rather, they will vote OUR pocketbook. That means that about 40% of our registered voters are Democrats, vs. 28% Republicans. That means that going into an election, the conservative among us are up to 15% upside down before the first vote is cast. That's why Sacramento is dominated by Democrats. With exception of our Governor, who is a RINO (Republican in Name Only - how could it be otherwise, considering he's sleeping with Teddy Kennedy's niece), every other statewide office holder is a Democrat. Been that way for more than two decades. But we conservatives are an optomistic bunch. We pick our preferred candidate and suport them with gusto, just as the Democrats do. And then we have an election, and the Democrats always win. Well, at least we gave it the old college try. But that was then, this is now...
Startng next year, the top two vote getters will head off to the November elections. My expectation is that the top two vote getters will be Democrats. We'll have a choice between the really horrible Democrat who's running for his 13th term, promising to raise taxes on all those mean and nasty successful people to pay for more stuff for all the poor and downtrodden, and the less objectionable Democrat, who promises not to raise taxes quite that much, but raise them nonetheless. Can you say choice between negatives? Whoever crafted this piece of crap should be congratulated. He (or her) finally came up with an end to gridlock. With the death of the California Republican Party there will be no gridlock, because there will be but one party in Sacto. My guess is we can look back to the USSR if we want a peek at California's future. And just like the USSR, it will surely fail.
Hopefully I won't be around to witness it.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
But before we talk about our problems, let's take a look at Greece. The Greeks are all pissed off because their parliament is engaged in a life or death struggle with spending. In order to obtain loans from the European Union to prevent default on its debt, it has to cut spending by more than 30%. But the people aren't happy with that quest. That's because they want to retain their 14 monthly paychecks every year. Yep, that's right. Their public sector employees, comprising more than 50% of the Greek population, get paid for fourteen months every year. And they want to continue getting six weeks paid vacation each year. And they want to still be able to retire will 100% of the average of their top two years' income at fifty years of age. Retirement at 50. Now, some members of the EU, most notably the Germans, aren't all that thrilled at shoring up the Greeks. That's because the Germans don't get full retirement benefits upon retirement until the age of 78. But Greece isn't alone in this quagmire. Spain, Italy and Portugal are in a neck-and-neck race to catch Greece in the "we're flat broke" olympics. And each of them will need a bailout if they're to remain semi-solvent.
So how does Greece resolve it's problems? America, the largest contributor to the International Monetary Fund, borrows $56 Billion Dollars from China to loan to the IMF. The IMF then loans One Trillion Dollars to the EU. The Eu then loans an initial $156 Billion Dollars to Greece. Experts tell us this is just the first installment. Many more such loans will be needed if Greece is to stabilize. Just so we're all on the same page, Greece has a national debt equal to 120% of its Gross Domestic Product. We're told that any country with a debt greater than 100% of GDP is circling the drain. America? As of today our debt is equal to 90% of GDP. And growing, as I mentioned at $3.3 Billion Dollars A DAY!
November 2nd is just around the corner. Remember, elections have consequences. I for one am hoping for change...
Monday, May 24, 2010
Using this same rationale, it seems to me we should all be applauding Arizona for passing SB 1070, a law intended to try to do for itself what the President, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security (who, interestingly, used to be Arizona's Governor), the Justice Department and the Administration as a whole have blatantly chosen not to do; secure our borders and enforce our Federal immigration laws. The fact that the aforementioned public officials are sworn to uphold these laws, and don't, apparently means nothing to the pro-illegal immigration crowd. Or, to the vast majority of the mainstream liberal media, for that matter.
So. to be perfectly consistent, a goal to which every fair-minded individual should aspire, it looks to me like this: Illegals: Doing the jobs Americans won't do. Arizona: Doing the job America won't do. Kind of has a ring to it, don't you think?
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Well, I have an idea. Since San Francisco is boycotting Arizona, and now that toilet L.A. is boycotting Arizona, I've decided to boycott the boycott. I'm going to take a vacation this summer to Sedona. I hear it's a happening place. Crystals and pyramids and all that parallel universe stuff. Every time I decide to buy something, I'm going to find out if something like it is made by our dear overburdened and put-upon friends in AZ. And if it is, I'm buying it from them. And if it's made in L.A. or SFO, not happening. Not buying it. No way, Jose. That's a pun, there. No racial insensitivity intended. No bucks from Chuck going that way. Those weenies have chosen to screw with the wrong guy. I'm a one-man boycott machine. And I invite all the hundreds of thousands of people who routinely read my humble little blog to join with me in boycotting those latte-sipping, Saugivnon Blanc-drinking, limousine-riding commie pinko libs in Los Grungenous and San Give-me-Your-Moneynous until they get it right. Embrace Federal law or secede from the Union. And do it now.
Ask yourself this. Would you miss them?
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Now, with the headlong rush by the President and both houses of Congress to redistribute wealth from the "haves" to the "have-nots," it appears that the tipping point may have finally been reached. That's the point where more than half of the Country is living off the confiscated largesse of the minority. That minority consists of the folks who actually create jobs, work hard, produce wealth and pay taxes. And even though they're taxed ever greater percentages of their income as it increases, effectively punishing them for their success, thus leaving them with less to invest and build factories and hire people with, they've become objects of scorn by the easily-led, unproductive masses.
Consider this: The top 1% of wage earners in America pays more than 44% of all income taxes. The top 5% pays 73%. Remember when then-candidate Obama promised to give 95% of all Americans a tax cut? Maybe his Harvard education didn't teach him that the bottom 40% of all wage earners pays no income taxes at all. Or, then again, maybe he did. Yet, they get to vote for those who promise to take money from the folks who earn it and redistribute it to those who don't. Doesn't this cause a disincentive to those who might take a chance and start a company, knowing that if they succeed they'll be picked clean by greedy politicians seeking to curry favor with their constituents? Why should anyone work 16 hours a day, struggle to make payrolls and workers' comp. premiums, continually fight through myriad confusing and often conflicting rules and regulations and fees and mandates and restrictions, and then face confiscatory taxation if they're among the fortunate few to actually succeed? I submit it's finally become apparent to me they shouldn't. I don't know about you, but I've been pulling a wagon full of those hankering for a free ride for far too long. I've concluded it's time to stop pulling and hop in with the rest of them.
The hot topic these days in Washington is creating jobs. They just don't get it. The only jobs government creates is government jobs. Ask yourself this: When was the last time a poor person hired anybody?
Saturday, May 8, 2010
I don't mean to sound like a conspiracy theorist here, but let's review the facts:
FACT: The POTUS zigzagged to the right in an effort to woo some Republican support for his Cap & Tax legislation to cure global warming that isn't occurring by agreeing to open up some areas for offshore oil exploration. Notice he said "exploration," not "drilling."
FACT: Predictably, all of the ecoloons immediately cried foul. The commie pinko weenies at America's Oceans, the Sierra Club, PETA, the ACLU and every other group devoted to having us give up our cars and ride bicycles instead starting squealing like stuck pigs. They even threatened to withhold financial support from the Prez and his cronies.
FACT: The day before Earth Day, April 19th, the Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded, sending millions of gallons of crude gushing to the surface from over a mile deep. To date no one knows for sure what caused it.
FACT: Along with Arnold and nearly every other pol who had previously been on board for more drilling, the TelePrompTer-Reader-in-Chief immediately withdrew his support for new drilling.
FACT: The POTUS is now off the hook with his super far-left backers, who have resumed their never-ending demonization of anyone wishing to punch holes in the Earth and all conservatives nationwide.
FACT: There are 3,500 oil platforms operating in our coastal waters. This is only the second time in 40 years that a major spill has happened at an oil platform. And this time it happened at exactly the right instant to benefit The Administration and its lefty sycophants.
An accident? You decide?
Monday, May 3, 2010
And then it hit me. All we have to do to make lawyers scatter like so many cockroaches when you open the refrigerator door is to pass laws criminalizing criminal activity. Write your elected representatives and advocate for each of the other 49 states to pass laws mimicking AZ's. If that's the only way to get rid of lawyers it seems to me it would be worth whatever the cost...
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
But not just them. Our President-in-Training doesn't like it either. Neither does the Attorney General. I'm guessing that means it's a pretty good law. But lo and behold, today Mr. Rush Limbaugh offered up the very same suggestion I did. Send 'em to SFO, Rush said, with one-way bus tickets. This is absolute proof, I contend, that Rush reads my blog.
And if he doesn't, he should...
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Everyone knows that San Fran is a "sanctuary" city. That means if you're there illegally no one gives a damn. Their law enforcement folks are banned from asking your immigration status. And it's costing the city hugely as a result. Now this guy Herrera is advocating that SFO policymakers boycott AZ and AZ-based businesses in every way possible. And some of the lefties in D.C. are calling upon the Prez to order ICE not to accept illegals the AZ folks snag. Well I have a better idea. AZ should simply provide all the illegals they catch with a one-way bus ticket to San Francisco. Problem solved. SFO gets more of the illegals they so love, AZ gets rid of its illegals and POTUS and his cronies can't do a damn thing about it. Simple, cheap and quick. What do you think?
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Wine By Numbers:
400 vines per acre
4 - 5 tons per acre (2 - 3 tons for Pinot Noir)
160 gallons per ton
60 cases per ton
7.5 pounds per vine
2.5 bottles per vine
240 cases per acre
2.4 gallons per case
1 grape cluster + 1 glass
24 cases per barrel
288 bottles per barrel
416 cases per 1,000 gallons
10,000 grape varietals
20 of 400 oak vareitals used for barrels
50 - 60 degrees for wine storage
White wine served at 39 - 40, red at 59 - 60
Note: All numbers are approximations and vary by year and by varietal
In summation, dear friends, life's too short to drink cheap wine!
Sunday, April 18, 2010
1. Eschew Obfuscation.
2. Roses are red, violets are blue, I'm schizophrenic and so am I.
3. Save the whales. Collect the whole set.
See, I can write something short, humorous and almost totally apolitical.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Some of you are aware that I am an ordained minister of the gospel. I became one back when Jimmy Carter was screwing up America and I thought I might have to start a church to avoid oppressive taxation. Turns out I didn't, but I've used my "man of the cloth" status a couple of hundred times since then to marry up nice folks and help defray my bar bills a tad. But then I heard that two types of folks are exempted from complying with this crappy new legislation. They are members of the Amish and Christian Scientist churches. Turns out these people have some sort of religious conviction against buying health insurance. Or, maybe they were scared by a heath insurance salesman. Who knows? But I'm one of those guys who never lets an idea for a new business go unmolested. So here we go...
Starting today, I'm hereby inaugurating the "First Chuckmeister Church of Scientific Christians with an Amish Leaning." All you have to do is get back to me with your request to join up, along with a donation of perhaps $5.00 to cover shipping and handling, don't you know, and I'll send you an email welcoming you to the flock. There will be no regular services (although maybe some irregular ones!), no rules except you don't have to honor the individual insurance mandate due to our deeply held religious convictions, and no actual brick and mortar church. No, you won't have to grow a beard or drive a horse and buggy. But from time to time I may send along an email with some words to live by. I'm considering some sort of tithing arrangement so I won't have to work anymore at all, but I'll get back to you on that.
So, brothers and sisters, join with me today and confound those lovely folks at the IRS. Peace be with you. I await your response...
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
But the really good news is you don't have to buy it until you absolutely have to have it. Oh, you'll have to pay a fine if you refuse to play nice and purchase it, but the fine will cost you much, much less than will the insurance. Considering this, it struck me that, for convenience sake, State Farm, Allstate, Farmers, Blue Cross, etc., should simply cross-train ambulance drivers and EMTs as insurance salesmen. Then, after they scrape what'[s left of you up off the pavement following a crash, or collect you from your foyer after a stroke or heart attack, they can simply sign you up, lights flashing and siren sounding, while you're on your way to the hospital. Then, you'll be able to enjoy what used to be the greatest health care system on planet Earth. Assuming, that is, that there will be any doctors at the hospital to treat you once you've arrived...
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Instead they chose to unilaterally (without a single Republican vote) give us political junkies a veritable cornucopia of beyond-the-pale fodder to keep us front-row observers busy watching this once-in-a-lifetime political theater unfold. Sort of an "As the Stomach Turns" soap opera. Except, unfortunately, it's reality.
So now we'[ll get to see what happens when $526 Billion is cut from Medicare to make it stronger. If strangling an entitlement of money can make it stronger, I recommend cutting funding for welfare, food stamps and unemployment by a like amount. Let's see how much stronger they become. And then another $500 Billion in taxes will be extracted from the "rich." Um, I think that "rich" means you and me. And another $300Billion-plus will come from fines on individuals who choose not to buy health insurance because the fines are cheaper than the insurance. And from taxes on companies which choose not to insure their employees' health anymore because the fees would be cheaper than the premiums. All this to purchase health insurance that won't even kick in until 2014 at the earliest.
We'll get to watch another 100 commissions and councils and committees get formed to oversee this behemoth. We'll get to observe our unemployment rate go down as another 150,000 people are hired on our nickel to administer this massive bureaucracy, and another 16,500 will join the IRS to hunt down and jail the scofflaws who choose not to participate in all this fining and taxing. We'll watch as the Government nationalizes student loans, like it did the car companies, the investment houses, the insurance companies and the banks. Take a look at Venezuela if you want a preview of what could follow. And we'll get to see first-hand what it means to have one-sixth of our economy subsumed by those same nice folks who can't seem to figure out how to deliver our mail on time and on budget.
But there's one thing that's for sure. There are already 37 states ready to sue the Government to keep this monstrosity at bay (13 filed yesterday!). Their beef has to do with never in our Country's history have the Feds mandated anyone buy any goods or services until now. And for another huge gob of unfunded mandates foisted on the states. It's thought to be unconstitutional, oc course, if that matters to anyone anymore. I'm calling this the "Attorney Full Employment Act of 2010," because I foresee years and years of litigation to forestall or ameliorate this legislation's toxic effects, where the only ones who get over are the lawyers. At least SOMEBODY gets over.
I also foresee it would be a very good time for Democrat lawmakers to update their resumes. They're likely to need alternative employment come November 3rd. The good news for them is there's likely to be some openings at the IRS...