Tag Archives: fiscal cliff

Common Sense Applied to Campaign Promises. Are We On the Same Planet?

In the twentieth century, campaign slogans and campaign promises were much more simple than those of today.  In the 1900 presidential election, William McKinley used the slogan, ‘Four more years of the full dinner pail.’  How many millennials would even know what a dinner pail is?

In 1916, Woodrow Wilson’s big slogan was, ‘War in the east, peace in the west, thank God for Woodrow Wilson.’  Well, this slogan is interesting for two reasons: firstly, the US got involved with WWI one year later, and secondly, who today would include God in their campaign slogan?

The most famous campaign promise/slogan was used by Herbert Hoover in his 1928 election.  His famous slogan?  ‘A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.’  Now common sense would easily indicate that the Federal Government was not going to buy everyone a chicken and a car.  The gist of that slogan was that America would be so prosperous that everyone would be able to afford food and a car. It was still an era of self-sufficiency and independence in the US.   Well, like Wilson entering WWI, Hoover got thrown for a loop because of the stock market crash of 1929, less than a year after he took the oath of office.

Hoover lost the election to Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1932.  FDR’s biggest campaign promise was to provide a ‘New Deal.’  FDR quickly turned on another one of his campaign promises….balancing the budget.   According to one historian, FDR issued in a government that created a ‘firm desire on the part of the American people to use the government as an agency of human welfare.’  FDR determined that balancing the federal budget was outweighed by what he termed, ‘government activism.’

Now we get to some of the more recent campaign issues and promises.

Have you seen the Hillary Clinton TV ad stating that she would tax corporations and wealthy individuals, as it is time for them to pay their fair share of taxes?  I have seen this ad too many times already.  But be that as it may, one thing has become evident, no one from her staff knows how to use a computer for research, … only for sending classified emails.  Here are the most current statistics, easily found by anyone who is familiar with using google.  The United States pays the highest federal corporate taxes of the 34 industrial nations of the world. The maximum federal corporate tax rate is 39%.  In the worldly picture, the US is tied with Puerto Rico, and only behind the United Arab Emirates (55%) and Chad (40%).  The US federal tax rate is 16 percentage points higher that the worldwide average of 22.8%.  (For my info junkies, the federal tax rate in Mexico is 30%)

But, just like the TV commercial, there is more.  There are also state corporate taxes.  Would you like to guess which state has the highest corporate tax rate?  New York?  California?  New Jersey?  All good guesses but the state with the highest corporate tax rate at 12% is……………..Iowa!  Yup, those Hawkeyes finally got to be #1 at something.  Four states levy a maximum state corporate tax rate higher than 9%.  Those states are Pennsylvania (9.99%), District of Columbia (9.4%), Minnesota (9.84%) and Alaska (9.4%)  Ohio, Texas and Washington forego state corporate taxes but instead impose gross receipt taxes on businesses.  Nevada, South Dakota and Wyoming levy neither corporate income nor gross receipts taxes.  All the other states have a maximum corporate tax rate.

Here is an example of why US corporations are moving their headquarters and facilities out of the US.  Medtronic is located in Minnesota.  They make sophisticated medical devices.  Let us imagine that Medtronic makes $100 million profit in a year.  According to our present taxing structure, they would pay $39 million to the federal government and almost $10 to the state of Minnesota.  In round numbers, they pay $49 million in taxes and get to keep $51 million of their profit.  But wait….Medtronic is moving their entire operation to Ireland.  Why?  The new corporate tax rate is going to be 18%, with no state corporate taxes.  Under this scenario, they pay $18 million in taxes to Ireland and get to keep $82 million of their $100 million profit.

And Hillary Clinton wants to tax corporations more?

Let us take this one step further.  Do you know what percentage of federal tax receipts are attributable to corporations and what percentage are attributable to individual income taxes?  Here is a simplified breakdown of where the federal government gets its money:  Social insurance (payroll) taxes are 33.9%, excise taxes are 3.1%, Miscellaneous taxes account for 6.3%, corporate income taxes account for 10.6%, and individual income taxes account for a whooping 46.2% of federal tax revenue.   Would it be common sense to lower corporate tax rates to keep more companies within the United States, thereby creating more jobs?  If we would cut the corporate tax rate in half, would we not create more jobs?  Jobs that would provide more federal income to make up and exceed the difference in lost corporate taxes?

But wait, what are we going to do with all those high income tax payers that are not paying their fair share of taxes?  Well, here again, all those computers at Hillary’s campaign headquarters must be on the blink.  Did you know that the top 1% of the top wage earners in the United States, those people having an adjusted gross income (AGI) higher than $428,713, contribute 37.8% of the personal income taxes paid to the federal government.  The top 5%, those with an AGI greater than $179,760, pay 58.55% of the personal income taxes paid to the federal government.  The top 50% of the US wage earners, with an AGI greater than $36,841 contribute 97.22% of all federal personal income taxes.  Those 50% that are below $36,841 contribute 2.78% to federal personal income taxes. That’s right, 50% of the US population only pays 2.78% of the total federal income tax revenues.  So who pays their fair share of taxes????  There may be tax loopholes that need to be addressed, but if Hillary wants the higher wage earners to contribute more is she advocating a flat tax for everyone?  I doubt that.  That would be too much common sense for today’s political climate. (Remember Mitt Romney being castigated by mentioning that 47% of the population does not pay taxes?  All true.)

How about that campaign promise of free college for everyone.  OK all you college bound students, who will ultimately pay for your education?  That would be all of us, even though there are other ways to pay for school.  I know this is out of vogue, but you could begin working part-time jobs and start saving money.  I had one year of college paid for before I started.  There are scholarships and grants.  There are, heaven forbid, jobs to do while in college.  I did that as well and graduated without a college debt.  You could go into the military and gain use of the GI bill.  Viet Nam prompted my generation to make early life decisions, but until you know what you exactly want to do, why waste your money and flounder in college.  A little maturity goes a long way when it comes to life decisions.

In 2013, the average cost of tuition and fees in private colleges was $32,405.  In state resident public schools, tuition and fees averaged $9,410.  For out of state residents attending a public college, the tuition and fees averaged $23,893.  None of these costs include living expenses.  This year, there will be 21 million students attending college.  If the government were to pick up the tab at an average of $20,000 per student, that would cost, if my math is correct, $420 billion a year.  That would be almost 15% of our $3 trillion annual budget.  It would match our defense budget.   Oh, don’t forget, our federal deficit is almost $20 trillion and we are expecting a $600 billion shortfall for the 2016 budget.  So, do you members of the ‘give me a trophy for participating’ generation and the ‘I can’t work, I’m going on spring break’ generation really think the government should pay for your school?

We will build a wall.  How many times have we heard that recently?  I am neither a proponent or an opponent of this particular campaign promise.  But, having said that I would like to ask a question, “Would you get on an airplane without seeing everyone going through security?”   Not in today’s environment.  The same procedures apply if you want to board a cruise ship.  Your bags are taken and examined as well as your carry-on baggage.  So if we would not board a plane or a ship without going through stringent security, why would we oppose stopping illegal aliens and drugs from entering this country.  I have no problem with work permits or temporary visas, but everyone needs to be vetted.  I would hope some smart people could come up with a quick efficient way of granting work permits and temporary visas.

There are many more campaign promises and slogans circulating during this election year.  I just selected some of the juicier ones for review in this blog.  The next time a candidate comes up with something that smells a little fishy, all in the hopes of buying votes, do a little research.  I am sure your computers work just fine.

The Late Republican Party. Suicide By Stupidity!

There has been much political speculating that the Republican party will not survive if Donald J. Trump is the Republican nominee for POTUS.  I have been mulling this over and I have come to the conclusion that maybe the Republican party should not survive, and here are my reasons.

Two years ago, during the last mid-term election, the voters of America once again gave control of the House and the Senate to the Republicans.  That election should have been taken as the ‘warning shot across the bow,’ indicating that voters were no longer satisfied with the status quo or the Obama administration.  My initial thoughts were that at least, with both houses controlled by the Republican party, a set of brakes would be applied to stop the Obama insanity.  What have they done?  They were elected to overturn Obama Care, and they have not done that.  (Yes, I understand that Obama would veto anything concerning his health care program,   More on that later.)

We got rid of the gatekeeper from hell, Harry Reed,  as senate majority leader, and actually submitted and voted on budgets for the first time of the Obama administration.  Are those budgets being followed?  Are they cutting costs, eliminating waste, and reversing the spiraling national debt?  No. No. And No.

What has this Congress done?  From my viewpoint, Obama has forged ahead with all of his crazy ideas.  We elected that Congress to protect its citizens.   We elected that Congress to straighten out the financial mess that this country faces.  Why do we have this Congress, and all of the expenses of supporting it….if they don’t do anything?

With the Republicans in control of both houses, I blame them.  It has become obvious since the beginning of all those Republican presidential debates that the Republican party has lost contact with the average, conservative American.  Rather than listening to what the average American is concerned about which caused the Republicans to gain control of Congress, apparently they are too stupid to have read the tea leaves, or, they are so self-serving they just don’t care.  The perfect paragon of this was Jeb Bush.  Two years ago, he was the ‘golden boy’ of the Republican party.  He was known, and he was a dynamic fund raiser.  But how well did he do in the debates?  It was obvious that Jeb, much like the Republican party, had underestimated the concerns and anger of mainstream America.  Gun control.  Border security.  Immigration control.  Job creation.  When Jeb was talking, if you would have shut your eyes, it would have been difficult to tell which party he represented.

And there is one more very big thing that both parties have underestimated.  People are tired of the status quo, and they are really becoming tired of career politicians.  It was refreshing to see three non-political career people in the debates:  Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, and Donald Trump.

Now here we are with less than two weeks before the Republican national convention.

Dump Trump!  Anyone but Trump!  Trump Sucks!  There is no shortage of this, and unfortunately, much of it is coming from career Republican politicians.

Here are three possible scenarios for the convention.

1.  Attempt to undermine the delegate process and replace Trump with another candidate.  

Now you would think that if your apparent front runner brought out more voters to vote in the primaries for one candidate than ever before in the history of the United States, your party would be ecstatic.  Obviously that is not the case.  There has been much talk about attempting to sabotage the delegate procedure and put someone else in, rather than Trump.  Who would they get?  That smooth talking Mitt Romney, who has gone out of his way to back stab and denigrate Trump at every possible opportunity?  His little tirades are so despicable that I am sorry I voted for him in 2012.  I would not vote for him in 2016.  Many Americans who voted for Trump during the primaries would not vote for someone else if they feel their wishes have been cast aside.  If this were done, for sure Hillary Clinton would be voted in as POTUS.

I have to admit that Trump has kind of been my guy from the beginning.  I don’t have his hats or bumper stickers or have my lawn covered with his signs.  When asked if I support Trump, my answer has always been the same, “Donald Trump may not be who you like, but he may be what this country needs.”

This is similar to the Rush Limbaugh approach.  During the debates, one Cruz supporter called his show and wanted to know why Limbaugh had yet to attack Donald Trump.  Rush’s response was priceless.  “I will not attack anyone who has a chance of defeating Hillary Clinton.”  That attitude should have been adopted by the Republican party.

2.  Run someone as a third party candidate.

This option gives me nightmares!  It brings to mind the 1992 election when Ross Perot ran against George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton.  Bush was seeking his second term.  Perot, an egocentric conservative decided to enter the race.  The end result?  Bill Clinton won the election with only 42% of the popular vote.  58% of the country voted conservative, but the liberal won!

Just think.  If it weren’t for Ross Perot, we may never had heard about Bill or Hillary Clinton.

Anyway, this is the worst possible scenario for the country.  If some established Republicans decide this is feasible, they obviously don’t care what happens to this country.  Hillary Clinton would win handily if the conservative vote is again divided.

3.  Support Trump.

It would be about time for the Republican party to step up and support Trump financially and morally.  He did not win so many delegates by mistake.  There is no mistake about what he is thinking.  He may not be as eloquent as Reagan, Kennedy or FDR, but everyone understands what he is saying.

Paul Ryan has played patty cake politics with his lukewarm, milk-toast attitude.  So hear is a word of advice to Paul and all of the other backroom schemers concerning this convention:  Support the people’s candidate….or be prepared to suffer the people’s wrath at the polls!  

Mr. Ryan, you are the speaker of the House of Representatives because the people entrusted the Republican party to right this floundering ship of state.  If you or the party decide to pull any underhanded shenanigans in this convention, you will not be speaker after the election, and you may not be a representative.

You gained control of Congress to repeal Obama Care.  Will you accomplish that with Hillary Clinton as President?  You gained control of Congress to provide security to the people.  Will that occur if Clinton continues with Obama’s policies?  Closing borders, and vetting immigrants are a top concern of the average American.  Have you kept track of the number of murders being done by Islamic terrorists in our country and in other Western countries?  Will anything be done about this if Hillary is President?  The Liberals look at an open border as providing more potential voters for the Democratic party.  How about the national debt?  If people think it is a difficult economic environment now, what would happen if the US basically goes bankrupt like Greece.  Like Spain.  Like Italy.  All Western countries whose socialistic policies have created a unmanageable burden because the governments were too weak and unwilling to address the overspending.  Do you think this would improve with Hillary as president?

I am definitely tired of living under an administration where the cops and the military are the bad guys and the black thugs are the heroes.  Is this what Obama meant when he said he was going to ‘bring the country together?’  This country has never been so divided!

So, Mr. Ryan and all you career politicians that appear to be quaking because a non-career politician may see just how deep the cesspool is in Washington, D.C; I suggest that it is time to quit worrying about how you are going to be reelected, and begin doing what is right for this country.  If the Republican party does not unite to defeat Hillary Clinton, then the United States will suffer and the Republican party may very well disappear because of stupidity, timidity and internal bickering by self-centered, power hungry bureaucrats.  Is this what the Republican party wants as its legacy?

Like I said earlier, “Trump may not be who you like, but he may be what this country needs.”

Make American Great Again.  Amen.

PS.  This blog was written the afternoon before the shooting of eleven police officers in Dallas, five of them fatally.  My heartfelt condolences to the families of these policemen that were murdered by snipers in a coordinated attack during a protest.  Some of these officers were standing in support with the protesters.

Fast Information = Fast Forgetting

The one thing that amazes me about our ‘instantaneous-quick as a flash’ culture is our ability to forget situations, items and events as quickly as we learn about them.  There appears to be a direct correlation between these two events.  So I, Grandpa T am offering the following formula for our ‘instantaneous- quick as a flash’ culture.

The faster we receive news and information is in direct proportion to the speed with which we forget that news and information.  Or, f {fast} I {information} = f {fast} f {forgetting}.  Now that I have advanced that formula, am I eligible for some kind of Nobel prize?  After all, if the POTUS can get the Nobel Peace Prize after being president for about 10 minutes, I should be able to get some kind of a prize, too!  (Or…….did you forget he received it?)

There is no question that we receive information much, much faster than we did during my formative years.  Look at all the available sources.  We have the obvious mass media sources of TV, radio and newspapers.  But what really makes this instantaneous is the internet, personal computers, personal handheld devices, cell phones and personal devices that can take either pictures or movies and the ability to create a flash mob in a moments notice with these devices, all with the use of social media.  Look at what can be instantaneously flashed around the world because of dash cams in police cars, from cell phones and from other hand held devices.  It is truly amazing!

Grandma P has a cell phone that has an app that reports traffic accidents, road closures or bridge closures in our area.  Amazing!  Rather than go into a bad traffic area, the app directs you to an alternate route.  Need another example?  Recently, my best friend’s daughter got married.  Because of time and distance, Grandma P and I were not unable to attend.  I was on my computer at the same time the wedding was occurring at the opposite end of the country.  Golly and gadzooks, pictures of my friend escorting his daughter down the aisle were appearing on a social media website within seconds of it taking place!  Pictures of the ceremony and reception were being posted within minutes of the actual occurrence!  My friend was amazed when I called to tell him how beautiful the bride looked and how good he looked in his tailored suit.  It was as if I were in attendance.

November 7, marks the 3rd anniversary of writing this blog.  Yes, if you are sharp, you will realize that I began writing this within minutes of the last presidential election in 2012.  I was bummed and I needed a way to vent my anger, angst and disbelief.  Our country (as you may have forgotten) was experiencing high unemployment, a colossal increase in the national debt, did not have a budget for four years, a large percentage of people receiving welfare and food stamps…..and the country decided we liked that situation so much that we reelected the person that got us there.  That would be Barack Hussein Obama. I digress.

I began visiting some of my previous written posts on the blog site.  Then I realized that what was the ‘hot topic’ at the time of my writing the blog is all but forgotten.  Thus my formula for the Nobel prize of fast information = fast forgetting.  I have given examples of the quickness of obtaining information, let me give you some examples of how quickly we forget.

The financial crisis in Greece.  Do you remember that?  The country of Greece represents less than 2% of the world GDP.  Because of its socialistic society, it could no longer afford all the socialistic programs.  Over 40% of the population was on the government payroll.  People were retiring in their 50s with full salary and benefits.  Coupled with the high unemployment rate, it was a disaster in the making.  They raised taxes on the wealthy to afford their bloated programs.  The result?  The wealthy, which pretty much encompassed all of their educated professionals such as doctors, dentists and engineers, began migrating to other countries to escape the high taxes.  The Greek financial crisis whipsawed the world financial markets and stock exchanges for months. There  was a movement to kick them out of the European Economic Community, thus taking them off the euro and forcing them to go back to the drachma as their currency.  Here is the point of this blog…have you heard about the Greek financial crisis lately and do you think it has gone away?

Benghazi and lost emails.  Benghazi is all but forgotten.  The only reason the name is ever brought up is because of Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy.  If she were not a candidate, I very much doubt it would ever be heard of again.  As for the emails?  Well, it is amazing to me that she has abused her position as former Secretary of State to do something infinity larger than Richard Nixon’s Watergate break-in, and he resigned the presidency.  His crime involved reelection.  Hers involved national security.

IRS and the Tea Party Scandal.  This whole event has been swept under the carpet to the point of creating a mountain of dirt under the fibers.  You would think that much dirt would eventually cause a problem, but rest assured, Lois Lerner is still retired, walking the streets and collecting a full pension for being the director of the IRS.  She is thus liberated even after using her position to throttle the Tea Party movement prior to the elections by not granting tax exempt status to their cause.  The IRS throttled many conservative groups other than the Tea Party.  In front of numerous congressional fact-finding committees, our Lois, our government employee, pleaded the 5th amendment to many of the direct questions.  A classic case of the government forgetting that they work for the people.  Why has this whole affair gone MIA from the media?  Well, it was my opinion that Lois Lerner was not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree and that she was directed in her actions by her boss.  At that time it would have been the Attorney General, Eric Holder, and  he worked for the POTUS.  How convenient during an election year.

Fiscal Cliff and National Debt.  How can anyone forget the overused usage of the words ‘fiscal cliff?’  Yet, when was the last time you heard the term?  Two years ago, it was the term de jour coupled with the continuing controversy about our national debt.  At the time, the national debt was $18 trillion and rising.  The prognosis was it would be over $20 trillion before Obama left office in 2016.  If you can believe Donald Trump, it is already over $19 trillion with over a year to go in the Obama presidency.  Wow!  If you can believe financial pundits, they are predicting a fiscal collapse of mega-proportions on a world scale once the US debt reaches $24 trillion.  I have never heard the reason why, but I have heard that figure and predicted result more than once.  Perhaps the dollar will be replaced as the world reserve currency by some other currency.  The dollar being the world reserve currency is the only reason why we have been able to accumulate so much debt.   If the government was a corporation, it would have had to declare bankruptcy long ago!  Look at what the Greek government has had to do, and then magnify that by about 15.  It is surprising that this pending fiscal crisis was not thoroughly addressed in the first two Republican presidential debates.  But then, it would have made the present administration look bad for quadrupling our national debt in 8 years! 

After reading the previous paragraph about our predicted financial doom, isn’t it interesting that the three of the leading Republican presidential contenders; Trump, Fiorina and Carson are not career politicians.  Unlike the present administration, where less than 10% of the cabinet or staff have had experience in the private sectors of our economy, you can surmise that if any of these three become president, 40% or more of the cabinet or staff will have experience in the private sector of our economy.  That is what we needed in 2012, but opted for the status quo by reelecting Obama.  These three leading Republican contenders have sent shock waves through all career politicians because of their non-political experiences and their rapidly growing popularity among the populous by not being career politicians.  Regardless who the next president will be, they will have to face some very burgeoning fiscal issues.  They will also have to retool our country from socialism back to its capitalistic roots.  But again, I digress.  (Its my blog, and I can digress if I want!)

There were many other terms that have come and gone over the last three years.  Disappearing with nary a whimper.  Government gridlock.  Voter ID.  Washington Redskins name change.  The situation in the Ukraine.   These are just some of the terms and events that were in the forefront and have somehow evaporated from sight like mist in a wind.  Too bad that can’t be said about the Kardashians.

I am writing and practicing  my acceptance speech for the first Nobel prize for Common Sense.  I can just see it now, sitting in Stockholm waiting for that grand announcement….”And the winner of the first ever Nobel prize for Common Sense goes to”……….(Oh crap!  Sitting in Stockholm with no place to go.)

Lions, Looters & Loonies – Oh My!

When I was growing up in our small farming community, participating in athletics was pretty darn simple.  We had football in the fall; we had basketball and wrestling in the winter.  There were baseball, track and field, and cross country running in the spring.  That was it!  Our school was not large enough to have a hockey team as well as the other winter sports.  There was absolutely no interest in soccer at that time. Instead, we played kickball and dodgeball during recess.

In most of our sports, we were always taught to ‘keep your eye on the ball.’    This was especially true if that ball was a baseball, basketball, football and, in our Midwestern community, a snowball!  Some of those snowballs really packed a wallop.  On occasion, a good snowball fight would get out of hand when someone would pack a piece of very hard ice into the snowball.  Those heated snowball fights would get out of hand frequently and body shots were replaced with intended head shots!  So…..I am not going to admit that I would ever pack a piece of ice in a snowball, but I will admit that one would learn quickly to ‘keep your eye on the ball.’

More people need to learn how to keep their eyes on the proverbial ball.  One such person would be Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.  She is the infamous mayor of Baltimore that proclaimed shortly after the Freddie Gray shooting that the looters should be able to loot, “because it is only property.”   She instructed her police chief to back off from the looters.  This little dalliance in shelving law and order in favor of discord and rioting has had a profound after-effect that the foolish mayor never anticipated.  This past July, Baltimore, a city of less than 622,000 people (with a declining population), broke a 43-year record for the most homicides in a month.  There were 43 such homicides.   There was a spike in non-fatal shootings as well.  Practically all were black on black crime.  Why?

Crime experts and residents of Baltimore’s most dangerous neighborhoods cite a confluence of factors:  mistrust of the police; generalized anger and hopelessness over a lack of opportunities for young black men; and competition among dealers of illegal drugs, bolstered by the looting of prescription pills from pharmacies during the riot.  Federal drug enforcement agents said gangs targeted 32 pharmacies in the city, taking roughly 300,000 doses of opiates, as the riots caused $9 million in property damages in the city.  A member of the Drug Enforcement Administration said the high homicide rate probably related directly to the stolen prescription drugs. (No fooling?  Even the citizens are saying everyone was wild on opiates!)   Now that the supply is likely exhausted, the drug turf wars will likely promote more violence.

What has the honorable Mayor Rawlings-Blake done?  Why she has replaced her police chief twice since the riots?  The results have been the same with each chief.  The situation is out of hand because of the mayor’s decision to allow the rioters to continue to loot.  Who should really be replaced?

The pitcher checks the sign.  He winds up and delivers a blistering fastball directly over the plate!  S-T-R-I-K-E  T-H-R-E-E!  Yyyyyoooouuuuu’rrrrreeee out!  The dejected batter, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake walks to the dugout.  She had her eyes closed while at bat!

Another group that needs to learn how to keep their eyes on the ball is………..the American public!

There are so many things that the citizenry of this country should be concerned about, but aren’t.  Our attention spans are about as long as the time it takes to pop popcorn in a microwave!  Do you remember fiscal cliff?  That was a large buzz word about 18 months ago.  Has it gone away?

How about the debt crisis?  Has that gone away?  Our national debt is at $18 trillion and climbing.  It appears that no one in Washington has the fortitude or determination to turn this around.  Everyone has seen the country of Greece go through all sorts of fiscal gyrations.  Greece is responsible for less than 2% of the world’s GDP.  Through its socialistic programs, it has dug a hole that may not be refilled.  My advice is to acquaint yourself with the specifics as to why Greece is in such economic trouble.  My reason for bringing this up?  We are rapidly greasing our skids in the United States to be in the same place as Greece with one exception….when we go, so will the world’s economy!  That would make the Great Depression look like the So-So Depression.

Four marines and one sailor were gunned down in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  The public outrage lasted about 3 days.  After all, they were military personnel and they have volunteered to protect our country.  Isn’t death a part of the job description?  What outrageous event did manage to get the attention of most Americans?  Why, the death of Cecil the Lion!  Do you realize that people were picketing the office of the dentist that shot Cecil the Lion, calling for his execution!

I have come to the conclusion that most Americans now possess a reality show mentality.  Calling for the execution of the lion shooter is a little severe, don’t you think?  When I was young, my dad would go deer hunting.  He deer hunted because our family could really use the meat.  It was a sad day if he did not get a deer.  I hunted deer and was moderately successful.  We hunted in heavy coniferous forests not too far from the Canadian border.  It was not easy hunting.  It was extremely difficult hunting.   As I got older and my family became more financially successful, we really did not need the meat.  We continued to deer hunt, but more for the camaraderie, tradition and challenge of the hunt than for the need of the meat.  Don’t get me wrong, we ate every bit of everything we have ever hunted.

Then I was invited to hunt in Wyoming.  Hunting in Wyoming was on grassy plains with scrub brush close to rivers.  It was easy hunting because you could see game for miles and there was no shortage of game.  I am not exaggerating when I say I could have shot 15-20 deer each of the two years I hunted.  I lost the urge when the challenge wasn’t present.  I did not need the meat.  I gave up deer hunting before I was 35 years old.

Back to reality.  Our public is screaming for the execution, or at least the extradition of the lion killer to Zimbabwe.  We don’t have an extradition treaty with Zimbabwe.  Where is the furor over the killing of our military personnel in Chattanooga?  That’s something to roar about!  Why are we not calling for that shooter’s execution?  Oh, that’s right……….. he is a Muslim who was suffering from depression!  So we have had a slew of Muslims that have attacked and killed Americans right here in the good old U S of A!  Are they all suffering from depression?  Not a one of them has been executed.  Not a Muslim has been deported for abetting these killers as allowed by the Patriot Act.  Have Americans reached a point where the death of a lion is more serious than the killing of Americans in America by radical Muslims?

I mention reality show mindset.  I am convinced that more people follow the Kardashians than follow what is happening in this country politically.  I would give up bacon for a month if anyone can tell me what talents the Kardashians actually possess.  Can they act?  Can they sing?  Can they dance or perform in any appreciable way?  Why, oh why, are they getting more publicity than the killing of our military personnel in Chattanooga?  The Boston bomber?  The Fort Hood shooter?   Why are the Kardashians on television?   I don’t get it.  Didn’t we learn anything from Paris Hilton?

There is one event that I wish would die quickly and that is the transsexual reformation of Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner.  Bruce/Caitlyn is slightly younger than I am.  I am a self-professed Olympics junkie.  I have watched the Olympics every year since they were in Rome in 1960.  It was a tradition for my late uncle and me to watch the Olympics together.  Most of these Olympics were conducted during the height of the Cold War.  Ah yes……. those were the good old days.  Eagle versus Bear.  Blue versus Red.  Democracy versus Communism.  We damn well knew who our enemies were, and they were those damn Ruskies!  Without having a ‘shooting war,’ the Olympics became the unofficial battleground of good versus evil…at least in the American minds.  In 1972, the Olympics were in Munich.  In those Olympics, the Americans lost medals to the Russians in three sports that we usually dominated:  basketball, 100-meter and decathlon.  The winner of the decathlon was considered the ‘World’s Greatest Athlete.’  And now the title was held by a Russian!  OMG!  At the time, this was considered a national crisis that garnered more attention than Cecil the Lion!

In 1976, the Olympics were held in Montreal.  By the time of the games, Bruce Jenner had broken the world decathlon record twice.  He broke it a third time at the Olympics and won the gold medal!  An American was again the ‘World’s Greatest Athlete.’  I remember Bruce Jenner very well.  I watched his outstanding Olympic performance with admiration.  I saw him on my Wheaties box for seven years, only to be later replaced by Mary Lou Retton.  I could paint his Wheaties box picture from memory, if only I were an artist.

I think I am suffering trauma and mental anguish from his highly publicized transformation!  Is there a government funded support group for me?  Am I entitled to some kind of payment for my anguish?  My point is this.  No doubt, Bruce/Caitlyn had/has issues that I will never understand.  What I do understand is that rather than making this a private decision and living his new life quietly, he has attempted to promote and publicize his sexual transformation as if it were as important as the World Trade Center bombing.  TV interviews to announce his decision.  Magazine covers.  Now a reality TV series?  Why?  I have a theory.  Bruce was never able to be extremely successful marketing himself after his Olympic accomplishments.  He has married into a family that has made millions without any appreciable attributes. Their accomplishments would pale in comparison to his accomplishments.  Could money and a reality-show-minded audience be at least partially responsible for his sexual transformation decision?

Look at how much publicity Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner, the Kardashians and Cecil the Lion have received recently in relation to events that affect our lives.  With a presidential election coming up next year, America needs to quit buying the National Enquirer, Star and other gossip rags and begin paying attention to what our politicians and future candidates are doing and saying.  We need to be cognizant of world events.  In other words, we need to ‘keep our eye on the ball.’

PS.  Caitlyn has recently stated that she still prefers women.  That should make her the poster child of the LBGTQ group (lesbian, bisexual, gay, transsexual, queer group) as she now punches about every button.

Why Hillary Will Win in 2016

I have published 52 posts.  One of those posts was written by Dr. Walter Williams.  Every once in a while, someone authors an article that is excellent.  Here is another one of those articles.  It is written by a rabbi; Rabbi Steven Pruzanshky.  Rabbi Pruzanshky is the spiritual leader of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun in Teaneck, New Jersey.  He writes his own blog.  He does possess some notoriety.  As I googled Rabbi Steven…. his name came up without adding his last name.  Gee….if that would only happen with Grandpa T!

But I digress.  It has always amazed me that the majority of people of the Jewish faith vote for Democratic candidates.  This puzzles me in that Israel could not have had better allies than our former Presidents Nixon, Reagan, Bush and Bush.  The jury is out on our current POTUS and his support for Israel.

Anyway, I am not of the Jewish faith, but this article crosses all religious boundaries and is applicable to all faiths and all Americans.  Here it is:

“The most charitable way of explaining the election results of 2012 is that Americans voted for the status quo – for the incumbent President and for a divided Congress.  They must enjoy gridlock, partisanship, incompetence, economic stagnation and avoidance of responsibility.  And fewer people voted.

But as we awake from the nightmare, it is important to eschew the facile explanations for the Romney defeat that will prevail among the chattering classes.  Romney did not lose because of the effects of Hurricane Sandy that devastated this area, nor did he lose because he ran a poor campaign, nor did he lose because the Republicans could have chosen better candidates, nor did he lose because Obama benefited from a slight uptick in the economy due to the business cycle.

Romney lost because he didn’t get enough votes to win.

That might seem obvious, but not for the obvious reasons.  Romney lost because the conservative virtues – the traditional American virtues – of liberty, hard work, free enterprise, private initiative and aspirations to moral greatness – no longer inspire or animate a majority of the electorate.

The simplest reason why Romney lost was because it is impossible to compete against free stuff.

Every businessman knows this; that is why the “loss leader’ or the giveaway is such a powerful marketing tool.  Obama’s America is one in which free stuff is given away: the adults among the 47,000,000 on food stamps clearly recognized for whom they should vote, and so they did, by the tens of millions; those who – courtesy of Obama – receive two full years of unemployment benefits (which, of course, both disincentives looking for work and also motivates people to work off the books while collecting their windfall) surely know for whom to vote.  The lure of free stuff is irresistible.

The defining moment of the whole campaign was the revelation of the secretly-recorded video in which Romney acknowledged the difficulty of winning an election in which “47% of the people” start off against him because they pay no taxes and just receive money – “free stuff” – from the government.

Almost half of the population has no skin in the game – they don’t care about high taxes, promoting business, or creating jobs, nor do they care that the money for their free stuff is being borrowed from their children and from the Chinese.

They just want the free stuff that comes their way at someone else’s expense.  In the end, that  47% leaves very little margin for error for any Republican, and does not bode well for the future.

It is impossible to imagine a conservative candidate winning against such overwhelming odds.  People do vote their pocketbooks.  In essence, the people vote for a Congress who will not raise their taxes, and for a President who will give them free stuff, never mind who has to pay for it.

That engenders the second reason why Romney lost: the inescapable conclusion that the electorate is ignorant and uniformed.  Indeed, it does not pay to be an informed voter, because most other voters – the clear majority – are unintelligent and easily swayed by emotion and raw populism.  That is the indelicate way of saying that too many people vote with their hearts and not their heads.  That is why Obama did not have to produce a second term agenda, or even defend his first-term record.  He needed only to portray Mitt Romney as a rapacious capitalist who throws elderly women over a cliff, when he is not just snatching away their cancer medication, while starving the poor and cutting taxes for the rich.

During his 1956 presidential campaign, a woman called out to Adlai Stevenson: “Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!”  Stevenson called back: “That’s not enough, madam, we need a majority!”  Truer words were never spoken.

Obama could get away with saying that “Romney wants the rich to play by a different set of rules” – without ever defining what those different rules were; with saying that the “rich should pay their fair share” – without ever defining what a  “fair share” is; with saying that Romney wants the poor, elderly and sick to  ‘fend for themselves” – without even acknowledging that all these government programs are going bankrupt, their current insolvency only papered over by deficit spending.

Similarly, Obama (or his surrogates) could hint to blacks that a Romney victory would lead them back into chains and proclaim to women that their abortions and birth control would be taken away.  He could appeal to Hispanics that Romney would have them all arrested and shipped to Mexico and unabashedly state that he will not enforce the current immigration laws.  He could espouse the furtherance of the incestuous relationship between governments and unions – in which politicians ply the unions with public money, in exchange for which the unions provide the politicians with votes, in exchange for which the politicians provide more money and the unions provide more votes, etc., even though the money is gone.

Obama also knows that the electorate has changed – that whites will soon be a minority in America (they’re already a minority in California) and that the new immigrants to the US are primarily from the Third World and do not share the traditional American values that attracted immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries.  It is a different world, and a different America.  Obama is part of that different America, knows it, and knows how to tap into it.  That is why he won.

Obama also proved again that negative advertising works, invective sells, and harsh personal attacks succeed.  That Romney never engaged in such diatribes points to his essential goodness as a person; his “negative ads” were simple facts, never personal abuse – facts about high unemployment, lower take-home pay, a loss of American power and prestige abroad, a lack of leadership, etc.  As a politician, though, Romney failed because he did not embrace the devil’s bargain of making unsustainable promises.

It turned out that it was not possible for Romney and Ryan – people of substance, depth and ideas – to compete with the shallow populism and platitudes of their opponents.  Obama mastered the politics of envy – of class warfare – never reaching out to Americans as such but to individual groups, and cobbling together a winning majority from these minority groups.  If an Obama could not be defeated – with his record and his vision of America, in which free stuff seduces voters – it is hard to envision any change in the future. The road to Hillary Clinton in 2016 and to a European-socialist economy – those very economies that are collapsing today in Europe – is paved.

For Jews, mostly assimilated anyway and staunch Democrats, the results demonstrate again that liberalism is their Torah.  Almost 70% voted for a president widely perceived by Israelis and most committed Jews as hostile to Israel.  They voted to secure Obama’s future at America’s expense and at Israel’s expense – in effect, preferring Obama to Netanyahu by a wide margin.

A dangerous time is ahead.  Under present circumstances, it is inconceivable that the US will take any aggressive action against Iran and will more likely thwart any Israeli initiative.  The US will preach the importance of negotiations up until the production of the first Iranian nuclear weapon – and then state that the world must learn to live with this new reality.

But this election should be a wake-up call to Jews.  There is no permanent empire, nor is there an enduring haven for Jews anywhere in the exile.  The American empire began to decline in 2007, and the deterioration has been exacerbated in the last five years.  This election only hastens that decline.

Society is permeated with sloth, greed, envy and materialistic excess.  It has lost its moorings and its moral foundations.  The takers outnumber the givers, and that will only increase in years to come.  The “Occupy” riots across this country in the last two years were mere dress rehearsals for what lies ahead – years of unrest sparked by the increasing discontent of the unsuccessful who want to seize the fruits and the bounty of the successful, and do not appreciate the slow pace of redistribution.

If this election proves one thing, it is that the Old America is gone.  And, sad for the world, it is not coming back.”

The problems we face today are there because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living.

There you have it!  Would it surprise you that the good Rabbi Steven Pruzansky has been described as a radical?  Personally, I think the good rabbi has hit the nail on the head….about many things affecting this country.  He refers to the current happenings as being a ‘wake-up” call to Jews, I think it should be a wake-up call to America.  Thankfully, we still have educated and informed people such as the rabbi that will state the truth.