May Day or mayday

May First. May Day. Or should it be mayday?

Hope springs eternal I am told. Spring has a way of giving hope by having the flowers in bloom and trees again doing their job of cleaning the air and providing shade. But this is an election year. A critical election year at that. So forget that hope stuff and concentrate on the mayday stuff.

With over a half century of perspectives, I feel a need to share them.  As I have presented in this forum before, I leaned toward the libertarian/conservative mindset.  I don’t anymore.  Why?  Because it doesn’t work. It could work, but we happen to be human.  Humans are selfish. All humans are selfish.  So we should expect that people want to keep what they have and look for a way to get more, after all wealth is power.  So who should we fault for where we are today?  I think those who took us to where we are now.

My post: Perfect – you, me, time and place in July last year summarized where we are in regards to wealth and power. It referred to charts and articles regarding the distribution of wealth. To summarize, here’s the numbers from 2007, before the Great Recession started.

Total Net Worth: Top 1%           Next19%        Bottom 80%
                 2007   34.60%           50.50%           15.00%

 Financial Wealth: Top 1%           Next19%        Bottom 80%
                  2007   42.70%           50.30%           7.00%

What do you think? Do you think these numbers may be about the same today?  If you think they may have changed, which direction of the categories may have gone up or down? Which categories do you think lost or gained?  It’s a no brainer.

We’re hearing a lot of blame being thrown at President Obama, now that Romney is the pre-determined presidential candidate. What category does Mitt belong to? Mitt’s a nice man but regardless of his rhetoric, where do you think his mindset is?

Keep this in mind when you vote this Fall.

Godspeed
ARD

Final words —

“I am not interested in power for power’s sake, but I’m interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good.” – - – Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable – a most sacred right – a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world.” – - – Abraham Lincoln

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” – - – Abraham Lincoln

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Wha’s up?

Wasn’t there supposed to be some major demonstrations across the country around tax day last week? That the 99% were going to highlight the injustice that many people earning less than $100,000 paid a higher tax rate than those earning $1,000,000 or more? Well… there was. It was peaceful and therefore not very news worthy. And, even worse, it was OLD news. But I have a feeling that this OLD news will again become NEW news as we progress through an election year.

Here are a few potential headlines:

In 2011, the average level of CEO pay in the S&P 500 Index increased 13.9 percent—to $12.94 million!

The average CEO now makes an astonishing 380 times what the average worker makes. That ratio used to be 42 times in 1980.

The average CEO of an S&P 500 company got a nearly 14 percent increase last year. They now make an average of almost $13 million—while millions of jobless workers spent countless hours searching for work. Many jobs were shipped overseas, and people fortunate enough to keep a job were lucky to get a basic cost-of-living increase.

S&P 500 companies last year had more than $1 trillion amassed in cash. That’s enough money to create a living-wage job, for a year, for every single American who is unemployed, underemployed or has stopped looking for work.

You could find more potential headlines at Executive Paywatch.

So wha’s up? CEO pay.

Keep this in mind when you vote this Fall.

Godspeed
ARD

Final words —

“A man willing to work, and unable to find work, is perhaps the saddest sight that fortune’s inequality exhibits under this sun.” – - – Thomas Carlyle (December 4, 1795 – February 5, 1881)

“American journalists tend to treat inequality as a fact of life. But it needn’t be.” – - – Eric Alterman (January 14, 1960 – )

“But it is also clear that left entirely untouched by public policy, the capitalist system will produce more inequality than is socially healthy or than is necessary for maximum efficiency.” – - – Barney Frank (March 31, 1940 – )

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Prolife/Prochoice

Recently I received an email from Rand Paul, U.S. Senator from Kentucky asking if I would give a donation to an organization to reverse the Supreme Court decision in the “Wade vs. Roe” case by interpreting the Fourteenth Amendment to define that life begins at conception.  Does it? 

Is this another attack on women?  If you think it’s not, why is a man proposing this?

The current abortion ruling implies life begins when the fetus can survive outside the womb somewhere around twelve weeks.  But really at twelve weeks can the fetus survive outside the womb without extensive medical support? Without extensive medical cost? No.  So when can a fetus survive on its own? When does life begin?

Going back to the email, I was asked to donate to support this “cause” even though further in the email it states its unlikely this proposal would ever happen. So why donate? Is it to make me feel better that I tried to make a difference by giving money to a “worthy” cause? And the question I always have from any organization spokesperson who asks me for money, how do I know it’ll be applied to what its supposed to be applied to?  I don’t. You don’t. No donor really knows what happens to the money given to a worthy cause.  We trust it will be applied effectively but we never, never really know.  So why give?

Going back to this being an attack on women, I’m ProLife within ProChoice. What I mean is that I feel a fetus should have a chance to life but that choice and burden is with the woman.  Why is this a political issue?

I could almost agree with Rand Paul if he would promote that the sperm donor, the man, has the same responsibilities regarding this new life as the woman.  Do you think that would ever happen? Not while men have the power to dictate what women can or can’t do.

Keep this in mind when you vote this Fall.

Godspeed
ARD

Final words —

“However much I dislike the idea of abortion, you should not criminalize a woman who, in very difficult circumstances, makes that choice.” – - – Tony Blair

“However, we might oppose it, abortion is a sad feature of modern life.” – - – Robert Casey

“I don’t support abortion. I could never participate in one. But I think it would be a mistake to make them illegal again.” – - – Jesse Ventura

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Politics as Usual

Being born and raised on Chicago’s South Side had given me a distorted perspective of politics early on.  I remember being at Grandma’s house on Washtenaw and 32nd and observing her alderman come up to ask, “Did you vote today Mary?” Grandma responded affirmatively and then I would observe money pass between them as they shook hands. Busha would say “that’s a easy five dollars.” I remember being at my Grandpa’s bakery on 52nd and Wood where every Monday morning, a bag with a couple of sweet rolls and a loaf of rye bread would be placed on the counter over a $10 bill that would eventually be picked up by the neighborhood beat cop.  I always thought these exchanges were acts of gratitude and I still want to believe that but reality tells me it was politics as usual.

Today I live in Denver after spending 37 years in Phoenix.  I don’t know any of that today.  Maybe it still exists but I don’t think it’s as blatant as it was in the 50’s.  Except of course in Washington. 

Let’s begin with subsidies. Tobacco subsidies in the United States totaled $1.1 billion from 1995-2010. If you check out the link, which states get the most… red or blue states? How about today where even with record profits, oil companies are subsidized. How many industries are favored?  I don’t know… why are any industries subsidized, if we believe in a free market?  Check out my “Know Your Lawmakers” page.  You’ll be able to track your congressional and state representatives’ records in handing out favors… subsidies.  Would it be right to assume supporting a subsidy is a payback?

How about personal subsidies?  I talked about this before.  The tax code has over nine million words to describe special interest tax deductions.  Most of us claim charitable contributions, mortgage, and health care costs. That’s only the tip of the iceberg.  Time to simplify.

And one last way politicians grease their campaigns… the old fashion way… directly by donating money to their campaign funds.  I’m not talking about thousands but hundreds of thousands… and even millions are no longer a rarity. A far cry from getting a couple of bucks if you voted right.  Our Supreme (?) Court made it legal in 2010. In a 5–4 split decision, the Court decided that portions of McCain–Feingold Act or “BCRA” §203 violated the First Amendment.  And that opened the flood gates we are know experiencing this election year.  And it’s going to get worse.  Are you ready for it?  Are you going to do anything about it?

Godspeed
ARD

Final words —

“I have a dream” – - – Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968)

“Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them.” – - – Ronald Reagan (February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004), U.S. Republican politician, president.

“With record profits and rising production, I’m not worried about the big oil companies… I think it’s time they got by without help from taxpayers.” – - – President Barack Obama (August 4, 1961 – ), 44th President of the United States

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United(?) States

Dear Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus:

I am writing to demand that you withhold support from any Republican presidential candidate who uses the murder of Trayvon Martin to distort and silence critical conversations about race.

Last week, President Obama simply and honestly stated, “You know, if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” In response, Rick Santorum accused the President of trying to “drive a wedge in America.” Newt Gingrich lashed out with: “What the president said, in a sense, is disgraceful. It’s not a question of who that young man looked like.”

There is no doubt that Trayvon Martin — a 17-year-old boy armed only with Skittles and iced tea — was considered “suspicious” and targeted because of the color of his skin. But Santorum and Gingrich don’t want to acknowledge the clear role that race and stereotypes played in this case. Americans deserve better from men who claim to be able to represent all of us as president.

As head of the RNC, you set expectations around what’s acceptable to the party. I am calling on you to reign in candidates’ cynical efforts to sweep the race-related realities of Trayvon’s murder under the rug.
—————————————————————————————

The above was part of an email sent to me by one of the “Progressive” organizations wanting me to forward it to the RNC chair.  I did not forward it.  Receiving this email was disturbing for it underlined that race bigotry is still very prevalent in the United(?) States of America. What do you think?

Godspeed
ARD

Final words —
“I have a dream”, Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968)

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Jack

I finished reading Jack Abramoff’s autobiography this past week.  And today I sit staring at my computer monitor, not quite knowing what to write.  Jack’s story has profoundly affected my idea that our country is the greatest in the world.  Unless of course one believes that deceit, greed, and selfishness are attributes our elected leaders should have. Unfortunately, we must all believe that, look who we have elected as our leaders.

When you couple the corruption in Washington with the corruption on Wall Street, where does the common man have a voice? Will the common man step up?  Or is it too late.

A friend of mine, George Bell, has been working toward organizing a Constitutional Convention to amend the Constitution to bring government back to the people. Is this possible?  Can we restore a government of the people, by the people, and for the people or is it too late?  You decide.

Godspeed
ARD

Final words —
Excerpts from “Capital Punishment” by Jack Abramoff after serving his time in prison.

Page 270:  For at eighty years, the most consistent urge in Washington has been to accumulate power and sanctimoniously proclaim you are doing so for the good of the nation. Sometimes it’s true.  More often it’s not.
Page 272: There is no way to eliminate corruption in human endeavors, but the removal of temptation is always a good place to start…. What if Congress were forced to enact real reforms?  What would those be?
Page 273: Instead of limiting the amount of money a lobbyist may spend on wining and dining congressional members and staff, eliminate it entirely…. If you chose to serve in Congress or on a congressional staff, you should be barred for life from working for any company, organization, or association which lobbies the federal government.
Page 274: When I was a lobbyist, I opposed term limits for representatives…. Representatives should be allowed to serve three terms of two years, senators for two terms of six years.
Page 275: Repealing the 17th Amendment to the Constitution would restore the election of senators to the state houses.

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Why?

Last Thursday, March 15th, the Obama administration released a documentary titled “The Road We Traveled”.  This 16 minute video placed the past four years in perspective.  The very difficult times we were challenged with.  The very difficult times we placed our faith in one person to change the direction we, the people, were heading.  The very difficult times, that one person took on the responsibility in making very difficult and risky decisions alone without the support and in fact the resistance of the conservative leadership.  During these very difficult times the conservative leadership decided it was more important to have this president be a “one-term president” rather then work with him in helping America get out of distress.  Why?

Why was partisan politics more important then working together?  Why the resistance to the Affordable Care Act, from not only the conservative leadership but also from many long-term democratic representatives, after over forty years of repeated attempts to reform healthcare?  More on this with my next post.

I referred to this next question in my last post.  Why the flip-flopping of the GOP candidates specifically Mitt Romney?  And my last question, who do you think as president will better listen and consider your beliefs in making decisions to have this country move forward?

Godspeed
ARD

Final words —

“All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move.” – - – Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790, American Scientist, Publisher, Diplomat)

“In the middle of a difficulty lies opportunity.” – - – Albert Einstein (1879-1955, German-born American Physicist)

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(LOL)

Do you know what I like about the reality show “The Bachelor”? It’s just like the way I wooed my two ex-wives.  Flying all over the world and having them be aware that they were not the only one I was wooing. Ah those were the days.  (LOL)

It’s like today’s political climate. Candidates flying all over the country wooing the voters by saying what they want to hear and just like after you get married, they never follow up on what they say they’re going do.  They’ll just do what those who paid them tell them to do.  (LOL)

Do you remember the 1987 movie “Wall Street”?  Michael Douglas’ character was Gordon Gekko whose infamous line in that movie was “greed is good”.  Well the real Wall Street took that to heart and became not just greedy but added a few other “sins” like Pride, Covetousness, Lust, and Envy.  Well the laughs on Wall Street because Michael Douglas is now working with the FBI to help advise Wall Street workers not to land in prison like Gekko character did.  Do you think that’s going to help?  (LOL)

And now the good news… The National Association of Realtors said recently that contract signings, which “typically indicate where the housing market is headed,” rose 2 percent in February and reached the highest level since April 2010. All this was happening while the banks decided to accelerate foreclosure proceedings and get foreclosed homes to auction within a few days after foreclosure.  (LOL)

We sure live in a funny world.  (LOL)  :-(

Godspeed
ARD

Final words —

“In the time we have it is surely our duty to do all the good we can to all the people we can in all the ways we can.” – - William Barclay (1907-1978, Scottish Theologian, Religious Writer, Broadcaster)

“The life of the individual only has meaning insofar as it aids in making the life of every living thing nobler and more beautiful. Life is sacred, that is to say, it is the supreme value to which all other values are subordinate.” – - Albert Einstein (1879-1955, German-born American Physicist)

“Greed is good.” – - Gordon Gekko, “make-believe” evil person

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Restore the Way to the American Dream

Today is my younger brother, Tom’s birthday and also the 17th anniversary of my older brother, Bob’s passing.  Every year on this date I think back how things were.  I remember as if it was yesterday when Tom was six his hand was run over by a manual push lawn mower by our next door neighbor’s boy.  My mom’s scream was heard throughout the neighborhood after Tom ran home and showed her one of his finger tips was cut off.  Tom is an independent corporate and documentary filmmaker (http://tdvideo.com/) living in Virginia.  He helped save my life, so I owe him a lot.

Growing up and even in adulthood, Bob would always challenge me to do things I never thought I could do.  I want to believe he’s approving of my actions today. Bob was an independent thinker and always, always put family first.

OK, down to business, two weeks ago I asked you to read “Contract for the American Dream” and to submit any ideas on how we can do this.  No one responded to the challenge.  How can we afford committing to the “Contract for the American Dream”?  I see that we can by committing to three steps.

First - – do away with the tax code. Not by doing away with taxes but by making taxes fair and simple. So simple that all tax preparers and tax lawyers may be out of a job. The non-partisan Tax Foundation reports that the entire tax code with regulations in 2005 was over 9,097,000 words.  To put that in perspective, the Bible has 774,746 words as stated in the Scrap the Code web site.  The site proposes a flat tax as the best option.  I suggest a graduated flat tax from 5% to 40% for all personal, capital gains and corporate income. 

Second – - reduce the biggest government expenditure in the foreseeable future and that is Medicare.  Senior citizens include me for I am over 65, need to change our attitude that healthcare is free. What I mean is we need to do away with “free drugs”, “free wheelchairs”, “free hover-rounds”, “free oxygen”, “free life-saving/altering procedures” that only last a few weeks or months but cost tens of thousands of dollars. All this “free” stuff is paid for by our children and grandchildren.  Do we really want to do that?  If we question every “medical opinion”, we will help reduce Medicare fraud.  

Third – - We have to get rid of people. No not “death panels”… congress! We baby-boomers have done a number of good things.  Civil rights, woman rights, (though some in the GOP now support roll-back of these rights), technical advances beyond belief, and much more but we failed to maintain the paths for the 99% to the “American Dream”.  Read the final column by Charley Reese a journalist for 49 years for the Orlando Sentinel, a fellow senior citizen.  Charley feels the entire current congress needs to be voted out of office.  I feel we should selectively keep those who proved their ethics and adherence to the needs of their constituency.  Those voted out of office should be replaced by those whose futures we’ve compromised, the younger generation.  People in their thirties and forties whose outlook is relevant to today’s world.  Those without the prejudices and “hates” that many of us still carry. Those who will listen to their constituency. Those who will act against corruption and greed and not condone or worse, be part of it.  It’s time!  It’s time we act as one nation under God!  It’s time to be the nation we think we are!   It’s time to restore the American Dream!

Godspeed
ARD

Final words —

“This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – - John 15.12-13

“Laying down his life for his friends can be taken literally or figuratively. Lay down your prejudices and get to know your neighbor regardless of political or religious affiliations.  The American Dream is reachable for every responsible American citizen.” – - Anthony Dziedzic

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Hardwired?

Last week I asked you to read “Contract for the American Dream” and to submit any ideas on how we can financially do this.  Well to date I haven’t received any ideas and by now you’re probably wondering if I have one.  I do and I’ll share it with you but not this week because I came across an interesting article in the February 24, 2012 issue of The Week magazine. titled: Are political choices hardwired.  I can’t provide a link to the article because you’d have to be a subscriber to read it but I think you need to form your opinion on what this article presents.  I think it supports my previous post of a couple weeks ago, “Brainwashed”.  Here’s the article.

- - – - -
Are political choices hardwired?

We may think we vote in line with our economic interests and social values, but our politics may be driven largely by our biological makeup. University of Nebraska researchers measured how aroused the nervous systems of highly conservative and liberal voters became while they viewed positive images, such as pictures of babies or cute animals, and negative scenes featuring car wrecks or fearsome insects. The conservatives showed greater interest in negative images, while liberals responded more strongly to positive ones. When researchers showed both groups collages that intermingled positive and negative images while tracking their eye movements, they found that conservatives focused on the more alarming material. Even on a physiological level, conservatives appear to spend more energy “monitoring things that make them feel uncomfortable,” psychologist Mike Dodd tells LiveScience.com. That may make them more receptive to campaigns that stress their fears, while liberals are more drawn to hopeful plans for the future. “It’s amazing the extent to which they perceive the world differently,” said political scientist John Hibbing, who helped design the study.
- – - – - 

So I ask the question again, are you brainwashed like I used to be or can you see the light? 

Godspeed
ARD

Final words —
“What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.”
- Edward Langley, Artist (1928 – 1995)
“Voting is like trying to start a car with a dead battery.  You hope it will work but it never does.”
- William Plankis, Best Friend (1945 -  )

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Any Ideas?

Please read “Contract for the American Dream”.

Finished? Any part you didn’t agree with? Please comment and tell me.

Now if this sounds good to you, that’s great but with our debt at $14 trillion how can we afford this? Any ideas?

Godspeed
ARD

Final words —
Do the right thing… vote!

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Brainwashed

I was 19 when Goldwater ran for president in 1964. I knew nothing. Nothing of life. Nothing of who I am.  But I liked the libertarianism that Goldwater preached.  Everyman who does an honest days labor gets an honest days pay.  Everyman who follows his dream faithfully will live an accomplished life.  Everyman who stands by his principles is righteous.  Now I know better.  Many who believed that are now unemployed and many are becoming unemployable.  Why?

I was a registered Republican for most of my years as a voting citizen.  I am now registered as an Independent.  I thank George W. for that.  I should have recognized the change in conservatism after Reagan’s second term.  Instead I was involved in following my dream of having my own business (TriCom International, Inc.), raising a family (2 girls, 2 boys), and living the American dream.  I was so busy that I didn’t notice the rise in debt of the 80’s and 90’s brought on by the conservative view of fiscal restraint (?)… supply side economics.  After all, Reagan and the first Bush were conservatives why should I have been worried.  I was ignorant.  I was uninvolved.  I was… stupid!

The GOP is blaming the current administration for our nation’s debt.  Just not true. Reagan/Bush (both of them) account for $12 trillion of our current debt.  Our elected
conservatives
did this and we, the voters, let them because we were… trusting?  ignorant?  or maybe we benefitted from it!  No More!!!  One question… did the Reagan and Bush(s) administrations act for the fiscal good of the nation?  If you answered yes, you are just like I was awhile back… brainwashed!

Godspeed
ARD

Final words —
Do the right thing this year and vote!

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